Top News

Gander community continues to mourn the loss of 14-year old drowning victim

Matthew Sargent, 14, drowned while canoeing on Vardy Pond near Gander on Sunday.
Matthew Sargent, 14, drowned while canoeing on Vardy Pond near Gander on Sunday.

GANDER, NL — The uncle of the teenage boy who drowned during a boating accident near Gander this past weekend is hoping something good comes from the tragedy.

There were life jackets available to the three boys who set out on Vardy’s Pond early Sunday afternoon. Tragically, the trio opted not to bring them along. Matthew Sargent, 14, would later drown after their canoe flipped.
Dwayne Freake, the uncle of the victim, has taken to Facebook to share his heartfelt plea with parents everywhere.
“Use Matthew’s death to substantiate the reason why adults are always preaching safety,” wrote Freake. “Tell them that is it because we love them.”
The two other boys, ages 14 and 16, were able to swim safely ashore. They were treated at the James Paton Memorial Hospital in Gander.
Freake is encouraging people to share the post with their children to “prevent this type of thing from ever happening again.”
The post has been widely shared and has received an outpouring of support from the community.
Following the tragedy, St. Paul’s Intermediate School was open Monday to provide support for grieving students. The school is requesting privacy for the students.
A spokesman for the English School District was able to confirm the school provided guidance counselors and educational psychologists to help during this difficult time.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends at this time and we offer our condolences,” said the spokesman.
RCMP Corporal Pam Blackwood, from the Gander detachment, emphasized the importance of safety in wake of the tragedy.
“Anytime you go out in a boat, we do encourage you to wear a life jacket or floatation device,” she said.
Freake wrote he didn’t know why the trio opted not to wear life jackets, but that the decision has forever altered the lives of his family.
“Uncle Dwayne is going to miss you terrible,” he wrote.
Sargent’s funeral will be held at the Gander Community Centre Thursday.

Recent Stories