Manpreet Singh (left) drowned after going under water in Entrance Bay in Cultus Lake Provincial Park on Saturday, July 25, 2020. Cultus Lake Fire Department, BCEHS, Chilliwack SAR and RCMP all responded to the scene. (Left: GoFundMe photo; Right: Shane MacKichan video still)

Good Samaritan recalls diving in to try to rescue young man who drowned at B.C. lake

Experienced spearfisher who dove into the water found and recovered the body of Manpreet Singh

A 22-year-old man from India drowned at Cultus Lake on Saturday.

And while the effort wasn’t enough in the end, a 49-year-old Good Samaritan did what he could to try and save the life of Manpreet Singh, a young international student.

Faamanu (Nu) Lapa of Abbotsford was on the shore of Entrance Bay celebrating his nephew’s birthday on July 25 when he heard and saw the commotion in the water. He grabbed his goggles and ran over to the crowd.

Lapa, who used to be a spearfisher in his native Samoa, said he’s “very comfortable” in water.

Friends of Singh pointed out where the 22-year-old went under and Lapa immediately dove in.

There were people on floaties looking down into the water searching, but Lapa knew since the lake is so dark the only way to find Singh was to go under the surface.

He searched for about 20 minutes with no success.

It was then that he saw RCMP and firefighters had arrived, so he swam back to shore figuring they would be diving in.

When he realized the emergency personnel were not going into the water, Lapa headed back into the lake to search a different area. They yelled at him to stop, but he ignored them.

“That’s when I dove again and found him, but it was too late,” he said.

He figured he swam down about 30 feet when he spotted Singh’s orange shorts. The young man was caught in weeds at the bottom of the lake.

Lapa untangled Singh and brought his limp body to the surface, holding onto him tightly.

“I didn’t want to let him go back down.”

He recalled shouting that he found him when he broke the surface.

Singh was located about 10 feet from where the bottom of the lake suddenly drops off.

Lapa carried Singh’s body to the shore as police and firefighters stepped into the water and helped.

“I wish I was in the right spot when I was looking for him in the beginning,” he recalled.

READ MORE: Student from India drowned at Cultus Lake Saturday

The Cultus Lake Fire Department was dispatched around 3:15 p.m. on July 25 to Entrance Bay in the provincial park after the reports came in of a man who fell into the water.

But Lapa said Singh did not fall into the water as he wasn’t near the dock nor was he on a boat. He remembers seeing the young man playing around with his friends on the shore before going into the water.

Chilliwack RCMP later confirmed he was found under the water by a Good Samaritan and brought to shore, but he was unable to be revived.

“My heart and prayers for the family and friends,” Lapa said.

Various social media posts and an online South Asian news magazine Desibuzz Canada reported that the drowning victim was Manpreet Singh, who was an international student attending Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, and was from a village in Gurdaspur, Punjab.

“I can confirm an adult drowned at Entrance Bay at Cultus Lake today,” said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Rail on Saturday. “There’s no evidence of criminality and the RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating.”

This is the second Indian national to drown in the area in recent weeks. On May 11, another 22-year-old from India was with friends at a popular cliff diving as Teskey Rock near Vedder Bridge on the Chilliwack River.

A fundraiser has been set up to help send Singh’s body back home to India.

Family member, Jagpal Singh, started a GoFundMe account on Sunday to raise money to bring Manpreet’s body home and to help the family. Within three days more than $37,000 had been raised. The fundraiser goal was set at $35,000.

According to the GoFundMe page, Manpreet has family in Surrey and Ottawa as well as India.

“Even a little from you can help. Please donate even a little if you can,” Jagpal wrote.

To donate, go to the GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/f/sending-brothers-body-to-india.

The BC Coroner Service and RCMP continue to investigate the July 25 drowning incident.

– with files from Paul Henderson and Eric Welsh

RELATED: Chilliwack dad rescues his two young daughters after truck plunges into Cultus Lake


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Cultus Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Manpreet Singh, 22, died on Saturday, July 25, 2020 when he drowned in Cultus Lake. His family is now raising money to send his body back home to India. (GoFundMe/ Chilliwack Progress)

Manpreet Singh (left) drowned after going under water in Entrance Bay in Cultus Lake Provincial Park on Saturday, July 25, 2020. Cultus Lake Fire Department, BCEHS, Chilliwack SAR and RCMP all responded to the scene. (Left: GoFundMe photo; Right: Shane MacKichan video still)

Just Posted

North Island All Candidates Meeting scheduled virtually for Oct. 14

‘our local candidates for the B.C. Provincial Election will be joining us’

Abandoned Neucel mill in Port Alice to cost at least $17 million to decommission

Removing hazardous waste and de-risking the site ratchet up bill to taxpayers

Growing food sovereignty at Klemtu

Greenhouse and grow boxes help create circular food economy for Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nations

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Gratitude is a great thing, what are you grateful for?

‘I want to say a heartfelt thanks to Steven Cahill for all his hard work over the years’

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

First Nations Health Authority chief medical officer concerned with rising COVID-19 cases

“There’s still so much we don’t know and we’re learning everyday about this particular virus.”

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Most Read