Humber College community mourns teen who drowned in Muskoka River

Published On July 6, 2021 | By Jaeybee Martinito | News

Humber College student Noel Caoile Jr. wanted to become a firefighter, just like his dad back in the Philippines. But this dream ended tragically after a family camping trip in Muskoka this weekend.

“He was taking up firefighting because he wanted to save people,” said Shawn Castillo, a friend and high school classmate of Caoile.

The family of the 18-year-old spent the Canada Day long weekend camping at Santa’s Village in Muskoka. However, their trip ended with tragedy after the teen drowned while swimming in the Muskoka River.

Noel Caoile Jr, third to the right. spends a camping trip with his family and friends at Santa's Village, Muskoka. The trip ends with tragedy having Caoile drowns in Muskoka River
Noel Caoile Jr, third to the right, spends a camping trip with his family and friends at Santa’s Village in Muskoka. Caoile, a Humber College student, drowned in Muskoka River during the weekend. Photo credit: GoFundme

Bracebridge OPP said officers and Bracebridge Fire responded to a drowning call after a swimmer called for help on the south branch of the Muskoka River off Golden Beach Road shortly after 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 3.

However, rescuers couldn’t find Caoile — whose dream was to save people — did not resurface. The OPP Underwater Search and Recovery Unit (USRU) suspended its search on Saturday because of visibility and safety concerns.

Shortly before 9 a.m. the following day, Caoile’s body was recovered and his identity was later confirmed.

Officials issued a warning on their Twitter page to be cautious while in or on the water, saying people should know their limits and to wear life jackets.

Despite the tragedy, Castillo wants to remember his friend “JayR” through the victim’s dreams and aspirations.

“I guess every time I see and hear a fire truck or a fireman, I’m going to remember him,” he said.

The two last saw each other in February. Castillo said being a firefighter is something Caoile always talked about.

A GoFundMe page now sits at more than $6,800 in donations to cover the funeral cost. Many left comments and shared that he was “a fireman who’s dedicated to give a helping hand. Unfortunately, the man who wanted to help is the one who needs help right now,” the page states.

“He was liked by all and will be sadly missed,” said Humber fire instructor Dave Archer, who donated $100 to the fund.

Caoile started his Pre-Service Firefighting Education and Training in January.

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