Counsellors help students at B.C. school after student dies during field trip

SOOKE, B.C. — The Greater Victoria School District says counsellors will be at a local middle school to help students and staff deal with the death of a fellow student.

Superintendent Shelley Green posted a letter on the district's website Wednesday, advising that the district has deployed its critical incident response team to Lansdowne Middle School after a student died during a field trip.

Officials with the Otter Point Volunteer Fire Department, near the west coast Vancouver Island community of Sooke, say they responded to Camp Barnard on Wednesday afternoon for a report that a boy was trapped under a fallen tree.

RCMP say in a news release the 13-year-old boy was unconscious and not breathing when emergency responders arrived.

Camp personnel and first responders performed life-saving measures but they were unsuccessful and the boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

A second youth was taken to hospital in critical condition but the RCMP say his injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

Premier John Horgan offered his "heartfelt sorrow" for the loss of life of the "youngster," who died in his constituency.

"I just want to offer my sincere condolences to the family and to those kids at Lansdowne who are grieving the loss of a friend at what was supposed to be a joyous end to the school year," Horgan said Thursday.

"Nobody wants to ever hear of events like this and now we have families living it in Victoria."

Green's letter says the death of the unnamed youth "may raise certain emotions, concerns and questions for our entire school district, especially our students.

"At Lansdowne Middle School, we have counsellors available for any students and staff who may need and want help or any type of assistance surrounding this loss," Green writes.

More than 600 students in Grades 6 to 8 attend the school.

The Camp Barnard website says the roughly one-square-kilometre camp at Otter Point, just west of Sooke, offers wilderness camping and other programs for youths and adults.

(The Canadian Press, CTV)

The Canadian Press