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Alcohol and no life jackets factors in drowning deaths of teens near Merritt

The B.C. Coroners Service says alcohol and no life jackets were factors in the deaths of two Langley teens on Nicola Lake last spring.
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December 24, 2013 - 8:55 AM

MERRITT - The coroner says a combination of alcohol and a lack of life jackets were factors in the deaths of two teens who drowned earlier this year near Merritt.

The B.C. Coroners Service has released its report into the deaths of Austin Kingsborough, 17, and Brendan Wilson, 18, who died this past April when their canoe capsized on chilly Nicola Lake.

The RCMP dive team conducted a search for the Langley teenagers who were presumed drowned, but police called off the search after a week or so. They continued with periodic air searches of the lake and surrounding areas.

The family of the missing boys hired a company from Idaho to continue the search of Nicola Lake so they could have some closure. Fifteen days after the teenagers went missing, the private dive team found the bodies on May 6, 2013.

Coroner Adele Lambert says the teens were not wearing personal flotation devices when the boat capsized.

Lambert says the teens were intoxicated, likely resulting in a diminished reaction time, reduced motor skills and altered depth perception.

She also says the fact that the boat flipped over at night likely made it especially hard for them to save themselves.

Lambert says people should take care to always wear safety gear before going boating.

The drownings started a deadly summer on the lakes and rivers in the Thompson-Okanagan, prompting a warning from the B.C. Coroners Service in July for people to be more cautious when recreating in the region.

To contact the reporter for this story, email halexander@infotelnews.ca or call 250-491-0331.

- with files from The Canadian Press

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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