Police investigating after man found dead in Wascana Lake
REGINA -- Regina police are investigating after they say a dead man was pulled from Wascana Lake on Thursday evening.
Officers were called to the north side of the lake, near the band shell, shortly after 7:30 p.m. According to police, witnesses reported a man “swimming” in the lake, but he was no longer visible. Officers found clothing and a cell phone on the shore near where they believe the man went into the water.
The fire department and the Regina police underwater rescue team responded to the call, along with EMS. They found an “unresponsive, adult male” in the water. He was pronounced dead at the scene around 9:20 p.m., police said.
The coroner was called to the scene to launch a death investigation.
“There is nothing to indicate that this death is the result of criminal action,” said a spokesperson for the Regina Police Service. “Our role becomes that of assisting the Coroners Service as required.”
Police say they are working to identify the man and notify his next-of-kin.
Charity Unique was walking around Wascana Lake when the situation unfolded. She said when she noticed the emergency vehicles, she went over to the area to find out what was happening.
The search efforts were already underway when she got there.
“We were there for about seven minutes and finally they found what we believed to have been the body because they told somebody to tighten the rope on the raft and they started digging and poking,” she explained. “We could tell because they stopped in one specific spot and started trying to dig with their poles.”
His unresponsive body was then removed from the lake.
“They put up the tarp so that we couldn’t see the body or anything,” Unique said. “They started getting the police officers to stand in a wall kind-of formation so that none of us could see.”
Unique said more than 100 people were standing by watching the situation unfold.
She described the situation as heartbreaking.
“We don’t know the circumstances,” she said about the incident. “It broke my heart, because I wanted to dive in.”
Neil Sundeen, the deputy chief of operations with the Regina Fire and Protective Services, said their water rescue crews follow a specific grid search protocols in situations like this.
“I read the report from the officers on scene last night and on the fourth pass, they were actually able to locate [the body], and so the system worked as well as it could have,” Sundeen said.
Sundeen adds that Wascana Lake is not a safe place for anyone to swim at any time of the year, and anytime someone is seen swimming in the lake it should be reported to 911.
Any witnesses are asked to contact police at 306-777-6500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.