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Two teens dead after group falls through ice on the Rideau River in Ottawa


Ottawa police say two teens have died after they fell through the ice on the Rideau River in Ottawa's south end.

Emergency crews responded to a call at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday for four youth who had fallen through the ice along Nicolls Island Road near Manotick.

Police say two youths were rescued by first responders and transported to hospital. A 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy were treated for mild hypothermia, according to paramedics.

Police say they found the body of one of the teens after a rescue mission in "very difficult conditions" overnight. Ontario's Eastern Region Supervising Coroner's Office told CTV News Ottawa the victim was identified as Ahmed Ahmed. A GoFundMe page identified him as Ahmed Haitham.

In an update on Thursday evening, police confirmed they found the body of a second teenager, who had been missing since last night. CTV News has independently confirmed the victim as 17-year-old Riley Cotter.

"Following an extensive search effort, the Ottawa Police Service Marine Unit has recovered the body of the second deceased youth who went missing in the Rideau River last night," a news release by Ottawa Police said.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the families, friends, and all those affected by this tragic loss. This incident profoundly impacts us all, and our hearts go out to those who are grieving."

Search crews used an underwater submersible to look for a missing 16-year-old who fell through the ice. (Peter Carlson/CTV News)The GoFundMe set up for Ahmed said he had aspirations in becoming a police officer.

"Ahmed and his friends had went out to skate at Nicolls Island. Only a few nights after a green Christmas, the ice had been melting due to warmer weather," the GoFundMe page said.

"Ahmed arrived at the river and was only trying to enjoy his winter break with his friends. When he arrived at the river and put on his skates, he took a few steps on the ice and unfortunately the ice broke."

The page says Ahmed and his friends 'fought for their lives' and were wearing heavy winter pants, jackets and heavy skates. 

Search crews continued to look for a teen who fell through the ice on Wednesday evening. (Peter Carlson/CTV News)Carly Roome, a resident who made the 9-1-1 call, says one of the teens came to the door of her childhood home and asked her for help.

"He knocked on our door and rang our doorbell and was just saying his friend fell through the ice and he needed help," she said.

"We called in and drove him back up to the bridge and his sister was there so we just waited for the police to arrive."

Roome says she stayed with the teen for a while and waited for police to arrive.

“I’m really shaken up. I feel really bad for the kid that lost his friend," she said.

"He ran all the way to our house and I really feel for him. I think he did everything that he could. And he did all the right things to try to save his friend." 

An Ottawa police officer was transported to hospital with a dive-related injury, according to paramedics.

Ottawa has seen warmer-than-normal temperatures through December, with five straight days of temperatures above 0 C. The temperature hit 6.6 C on Tuesday and 4.1 C on Wednesday.

The tragedy comes amid a spate of similar incidents across the country.

RCMP in Alberta confirmed this week that a family of three died after falling through thin ice while riding their UTV in the lead-up to Christmas.

A four-year-old girl also fell into a river in Quebec last week. Her body has not been found.

Ontario Provincial Police is reminding residents to use caution and assess ice and its quality before venturing out onto a frozen lake or river. 

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Natalie van Rooy Top Stories

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