A 32-year-old Etobicoke man is dead after a swimming accident in Acton's Fairy Lake Saturday afternoon. Harvey Sheppard of Dixon Rd. died in hospital early Sunday morning. Halton Police say the man was visiting Prospect Park, Acton with his family and swam across Fairy Lake. Approximately 40 feet from shore he experienced some difficulty while swimming, and disappeared under the water.
Harvey Sheppard, 32, of Etobicoke drowned while swimming in Fairy Lake in Acton Saturday afternoon. Halton Police say the man was visiting Prospect Park with his family and approximately 40 feet from shore he experienced some difficulty while swimming, and disappeared under the water. The lake has been declared unsafe for swimming for much of the summer due to high bacteria levels.
An Etobicoke man drowned in front of horrified family members at Fairy Lake Saturday afternoon. Harvey Sheppard, 32, of Dixon Rd., died in hospital early Sunday morning. He was pulled out of about eight feet of water across from the Prospect Park beach at approximately 3:30 p.m. by emergency personnel who immediately began CPR. Sheppard had vital signs when he was rushed to Georgetown Hospital, but later died at Oakville Hospital. Judy Townsley, who lives directly across from the beach on Cameron St. said she was sitting on the deck with her husband Jeff and heard people in the water, but she didn't pay a whole lot of attention to them. She said she had just walked into the house when her husband yelled at her to call 911 because someone had gone under. Her husband jumped in his boat to see if he could help find the man as Townsley watched from the shore. She said the woman swimming with Sheppard, who police idenitifed as a family member, later said they had swam to roughly the middle of the lake when she stopped for a second to look back at their kids on the beach. "She turned back and just saw him go under. He never cried out," said Townsley, who believes the family were the only ones on the beach. She said the woman and a man, who Townsley believes was Sheppard's brother, were frantically searching the water with their feet, trying to find Sheppard. "The brother was just beside himself. I finally had to say to him, `get this lifejacket on' because I was afraid he was going to go down." By the time the woman finally located the man in the water police and paramedics had arrived and dove in to rescue him. "He had been in the water for about 15 minutes," said Townsley. "His kids were just screaming for him (from the beach)." "There are weeds in areas of the water that are on the surface," said Halton Regional Police Acting Detective Greg Casson, who added that the bottom is also "quite weedy." He said Sheppard was described to police as an "average" swimmer and whether or not he had been drinking before the accident is still under investigation. Casson said it has not been determined yet what caused the man to go under and he would not release results of a post mortem done Monday. The area is clearly posted with "No Swimming" signs, and people are not supposed to go beyond the buoy line at the Prospect Park Beach, said Casson. Halton Region's health department posted notices last week indicating the lake was unsafe for swimming-- as it usually is during the summer-- because of high bacteria levels. Townsley said the accident was "absolutely tragic" and brought back upsetting memories of the swimming accident in the lake four years ago, nearly to the day, that claimed the life of her brother-in-law Douglas Neary of Hornby. She said she and her husband have come to realize that people are going to continue to swim in Fairy Lake, so Sunday she bought lifejackets and life rings to keep on their deck at all times in case there is ever another accident like the one on Saturday.