Teens who died falling through ice on Rideau River attended same Ottawa high school

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OTTAWA – A provincial coroner is investigating after two 17-year-old boys who fell through ice on the Rideau River in Ottawa’s south end Wednesday evening were found dead.

Ontario’s Eastern Region Supervising Coroner’s Office confirmed on Friday that it is probing the deaths of Ahmed Ahmed and Riley Cotter.

Both of them were students at John McCrae Secondary School, a spokesperson for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board confirmed.

Diane Pernari said staff, students and other members of the community are feeling the tragedy deeply.

She added the high school will have mental-health supports available for students when they return to their studies in the new year.

Two graduates of John McCrae came to the area where police were searching on Thursday and said they knew both of the teens.

They said they were at the site of the accident to pay their respects.

Seleina Elata said Ahmed, whom she referred to by the nickname AJ, was the first to have been found dead.

She said her friend, who was proud to have been from Iraq, loved coming to the area as he found it peaceful. “He liked how free and open it was.”

Police said emergency crews were called late Wednesday after a report came in about a group of four teens falling through the ice.

Carly Roome said she called 911 shortly after 9:30 p.m., when a boy ran to her family’s nearby home looking for help.

He had pulled his sister from the water and was dripping wet in socks, shorts and a T-shirt, she said.

Roome said she and her parents waited with the boy and his sister until police arrived.

Police said Thursday morning that two teens were taken to hospital right away, and divers found one of the two missing boys dead during an overnight search.

They confirmed later that evening that they had found a second body after resuming the search in the afternoon.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 29, 2023.

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Teens who died falling through ice on Rideau River attended same Ottawa high school

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