A young man who was pulled from the water at Britannia Beach Saturday has died, according to Ottawa Police.

Melissa Fildelfi was at the beach when the man was found unconscious around 3p.m. She said a little boy was trying to pull him to shore when lifeguards rushed over.  

 “He was just floating on top of the water, so we assumed he came from the Rockcliffes, and with the waves, it brought him towards the beach,” Fildelfi said.

Another witness, Michael Iotcov, said a group of doctors and nurses, who were also at the beach, began performing CPR until paramedics arrived.

The man, who is believed to be in his late teens or early 20s, was rushed to hospital where he later died. His identity has not been released.

“It’s just devastating for someone so young… for his life to get taken away like that,” Iotcov said.

 The circumstances surrounding the drowning are still unclear. Fildelfi said the man was first spotted near the buoy, and was wearing swim shorts, sunglasses, and a ball cap.

This year 55 people have drowned in Ontario, according to the Lifesaving Society.  Chris Wagg, the Vice-President of the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition, the society’s Ottawa chapter, said that number is nine per cent higher than last year.

“This is a sad reminder that these incidents are happening.”

Britannia Beach has signs warning of fast-moving waters nearby. Wagg said there have been close calls in this area before, where people get caught in a rough current.

To prevent drownings, Wagg suggests always wearing a flotation device, using the buddy system, and staying near marked areas.