U of T student dies on Gull Lake
By Chad Ingram
Published Sept. 6, 2017
A Mississauga family is looking for answers after Anand Baiju, an 18-year-old civil engineering student from the University of Toronto, died on Gull Lake on Tuesday afternoon.
“We are kept in the dark,” Manoj Radhamni, Baiju’s uncle, told the Times. “We don’t know what happened.”
Police were called to the University of Toronto survey camp, located off Deep Bay Road, at approximately 4:45 p.m. on Sept. 4.
“We are assisting in a death investigation involving a male party,” Sgt. Peter Leon, provincial media relations co-ordinator for the OPP, told the Times. “He was involved in an incident at the lake.”
Leon told the paper the male, who’s since been identified as Baiju, became separated from a group he was with. His body was transported to the Minden hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. His body has since been transported to Toronto, where the cause of death is being investigated by the coroner's office.
“Right now, we're assisting the coroner with a death investigation,” Leon said. He said police were also interviewing people who'd been at the scene of the incident.
According to Radhamni, there were some 50 engineering students at the camp for a two-day period. It was the beginning of Baiju’s second year at the university.
Radhamni told the paper the family has heard different stories anecdotally – that his nephew drowned, that he slipped and hit his head – but they have not been given any firm answers.
There has also been no contact by the university, he said.
“There was no response from the school,” Radhamni told the paper. “There was not even a courtesy phone call from the University of Toronto.”
Radhamni said the family has many questions, such as what kind of safety equipment was provided, and if there was a lifeguard on duty.
He said Baiju did not know how to swim, and was well aware of that limitation.
“There’s no chance he’d go into the deep side . . . he was a very obedient child,” Radhamni said.
The Times left a voicemail and sent an email to the University of Toronto media relations department, asking for someone to get in touch with the paper to answer questions.
In response to the paper’s queries, an email from media relations staff directed the paper to a prepared statement on the university’s website.
“The University of Toronto community is mourning the loss of an engineering student who died at a U of T camp near Minden . . . on Tuesday afternoon,” the statement reads. “The student was among a group of students taking part in an engineering course. This week’s programming at the camp has been cancelled and the other students returned Tuesday night, said Christina Amon, dean of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.
‘Today, our attention must be with those affected by this terrible tragedy,’ she said in a message to engineering students, faculty and staff. ‘The thoughts of our entire community are with the family and friends of the student who died.’”
Radhamni told the paper the family has not ruled out legal action against the school.
The University of Toronto has owned the property on Gull Lake for a century.