Toronto: An engineering student from Mississauga has drowned in a lake in Halliburton county. Anand Baiju, an 18-years-old second-year University of Toronto student enrolled in the civil engineering program, died on Sept. 4 at the university’s survey camp on Gull Lake near Minden, Ontario.
Anand was at the survey camp, along with 50 other students. The tragedy occurred around 5 am. Classmates said Anand’s hand might have slipped while he was holding on to a floating deck at an area where there was neck-deep water. He was taken out of the waters before rescue teams arrived. Reports indicated he had died before he could be taken to the hospital.
Anand is the son of Baiju Narayanan and Sreeja Baiju , originally from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. His sister Aswathi is a school student. The family has been living in Malton for the past eight years.
The survey camp is used to train undergraduate civil and mineral engineering students in the art and science of land surveying and engineering project management.
An investigation into the death has been launched by Haliburton Highlands OPP and an autopsy was performed on the body.
Relatives said Anand wasn’t a swimmer. Life guards were not available as swimming wasn’t part of the studies.
Relatives of Anand have slammed the poor safety measures. They asked why life-saving equipment were not provided and there was no warning against entering the lake. The university had acquired the 175-acre property nearly 100 years ago to conduct studies, including survey and project management. Minden is located 200 km from Toronto and 100 km off Peterborough.
One of Anand’s uncles, Gopinath, said Baiju was always interested in construction and engineering, going all the way back to playing with Lego as a boy, and was excited to be studying at U of T. To pay for the fees, and support his family, he was also working part-time at McDonald’s and FedEx.
Cristina Amon, dean of U of T’s faculty of applied science and engineering, said university officials are still gathering information about what happened and vowed that information would be shared with the family.
“We are saddened and the family is totally devastated,” he said.“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.”