Vancouver Island teenager dies during overnight school trip

RCMP and the B.C. Coroners Service are investigating after a Grade 11 student from Vancouver Island died in the middle of the night during a school trip this week. 

Sara Manitoski, who attended Courtenay's Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, was on a school trip to Hornby Island's Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre when she died sometime after falling asleep on Tuesday.

"At bedtime, this very, very vibrant young woman seemed to be very content, very happy, but Wednesday morning she was not responsive," said Paul Berry, principal of health and safety for the Comox Valley School District.

"It's an incredibly tragic situation for everyone involved. There were girls all sleeping in the cabin together, and had all wished each other goodnight. To wake up and discover one of them had not survived the night ... they were very, very calm in the midst of this crisis."

The cause of death has not yet been released.

Manitoski and the 35 other students were part of the Explore Program, an outdoor education and leadership program for Grade 11 students.

The district's critical incident response team came to meet the students Wednesday morning, and will be providing counselling services in the days ahead. 

"We're looking at how we can support these kids as we look towards starting spring break," said Berry. 

"You can imagine the trauma for the kids and staff involved. Just a horrible tragedy for this family and for everyone involved." 

With files from CHEK