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RCMP recover body of 12-year-old Winnipeg boy who slipped under rapids at Sturgeon Falls

The search for a 12-year-old boy who slipped and fell into the Winnipeg River in Whiteshell Provincial Park on Saturday is over.

An RCMP underwater recovery team found the body of Usaid Habib around 1 a.m. Monday.

The drowning happened at Sturgeon Falls shortly before noon on Saturday.

The falls are a wide set of rapids between Numao and Nutimik lakes, about 135 kilometres east of Winnipeg near the Manitoba-Ontario border.

“We searched pretty much around the clock,” said Tara Seel, media relations officer with RCMP in Manitoba.

RCMP are shown on a boat in the middle of a body of water.
Manitoba RCMP’s underwater recovery team was out about 100 metres from the shore at Sturgeon Falls on Sunday. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

The body was recovered “a little ways” from where he went in but not too far, she said.

“These types of conditions in this area of Sturgeon Falls are are quite challenging because of the rapids and the swift currents, so it was a challenge but we were very glad to be able to bring the boy home to his family.”

The search was done in collaboration with the Hutterian Emergency Aquatic Response Team, or HEART, which specializes in underwater search and recovery.

“We used technology of our own and we also used some of [the] HEART technology, so they definitely assisted us in being able to make that location in a rather quick manner, considering the currents and the rapids,” Seel said.

The words "underwater recovery team" are in blue letters on the side of a white vehicle.
The RCMP’s underwater recovery team located the body around 1 a.m. Monday. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

A remotely operated vehicle and sonar were used. No divers went into the water because of the danger.

Usaid was a student at St. Norbert Immersion school in Winnipeg.

His father, Danish Habib, told CBC News on Sunday that the family had been staying at the Nutimik Lake campground and hiked to Sturgeon Falls on Saturday morning.

Habib said he was telling another one of his sons not to get too close to the water when he heard a scream. Usaid slipped off the rocks, fell into the water and was swept into the rapids, he said.

People tried to rescue him but couldn’t reach him.

“My whole family was here. Everybody saw him drowning and we couldn’t do anything for him,” Habib said.

The Manitoba Islamic Association wrote in a funeral announcement on Monday that “Usaid will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered” by his parents, brothers and other members of his extended family.

The boy helped out with every mosque event, including serving food, the association said.

The investigation into the boy’s death continues. An autopsy will be conducted to confirm the cause of death, Seel said.

rcmp recover body of 12 year old winnipeg boy who slipped under rapids at sturgeon falls 2

RCMP recover the body of 12-year-old Usaid Habib

5 hours ago

Duration 2:13

RCMP have found the body of a 12-year old Winnipeg boy who drowned near the rapids at Stugeon Falls. Usaid Habib and his family were on a hike in Whiteshell Provincial Park early Saturday, when he slipped on rocks and fell into the fast moving water.

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