Mohammed Najib Sadek Kashem Chowdhury, a 25-year-old international student at the University of Ottawa, drowned on 25 July while swimming with friends near the Wakefield Covered Bridge on the Gatineau River. He was in his final year of computer science studies.
MRC des Collines Police were called around 1 p.m. when Mohammed failed to resurface. Police borrowed snorkels and masks and a boat from local residents in their initial search for the U of O student’s body. They were later helped by a fire department boat and Surete du Québec divers. Mohammed’s body was located and recovered hours later.
Police say that Mohammed was not a strong swimmer and was not wearing a life jacket. Alcohol was not a factor in the accident.
Mohammed’s funeral prayer was held on July 29 at the Ottawa Muslim Association Mosque. He was buried at the Ottawa Muslim Cemetery.
In the past, police have issued warnings that jumping off the bridge is dangerous because of currents that can surprise those who are unfamiliar with the river.
Mohammed is the second international student to drown near the bridge in the last six years. In 2015, a 23-year-old Algonquin College student from Zimbabwe drowned when he fell in to the river and was swept away from the current. The student was intoxicated and could not swim.
Learn about water safety in Canada
On average over 450 people die in drowning incidents in Canada every year. International students are more likely to drown than others.
At least two other international students have drowned in Canada in 2021:
Don’t become a victim. Learn about water safety in Canada for international students. Take the FREE Water Safety Course.
It could save your life.
Source: The Low Down