Mitesh Gounder

Mitesh Gounder

Surrey swimmer dies in Okanagan

B.C. Coroners Service identifies Surrey man who drowned Sunday in Okanagan Lake.

A Surrey man is dead after a mishap on Okanagan Lake this past weekend.

Early Sunday evening, the 23-year-old – identified Wednesday afternoon as Mitesh Krishnil Gounder – drowned after apparently getting into trouble during a final swim of the day.

His girlfriend, also in her 20s, was in a boat the couple had rented and tried to help Gounder, who police said encountered difficulty staying afloat.

She jumped into the water to assist, but to no avail. She also placed herself in danger.

A lakefront resident had seen the incident unfold from his home and rushed out to help the couple on his Sea-Doo.

But by the time the woman was rescued, her boyfriend had disappeared below the water’s surface.

Police were called to the scene at 7 p.m. Sunday, with search-and-rescue teams from Kelowna and Vernon, and the Kelowna Fire Department dive team, brought in to help find the body.

That effort came to a heartbreaking conclusion at about noon Monday, when Gounder’s body was spotted by an RCMP helicopter crew, near where he had disappeared in about three metres of water.

The young couple had rented a 20-foot Bayliner boat and were less than a kilometre from shore when the incident occurred.

Neither was wearing a life jacket.

“It’s another unfortunate situation where we are reminded of the importance of taking safety precautions when in the water during the summer,” said Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Bill Parmar.

A Facebook page paying tribute to Gounder has been created. Posts describe the Tamanawis Secondary grad as “an amazing boyfriend, son, brother, friend and cousin.”

“You were a great friend, never judged, always did things to make others laugh and listened,” writes Ashna Kumar.

Munesh Gounder encourages those who knew his brother to “join me in celebrating his life by posting memories and pictures.”

– Kelowna Capital News

Surrey North Delta Leader