Gorge search

Rescue Crews wait to be called into duty after a young man lost his footing at the flats just above the Niagara River Whirlpool.

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. — Canadian authorities are being tight-lipped about their discovery of a body in the lower Niagara River just off the shoreline by Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Law enforcement agencies, on both sides of the border, have not commented on whether the victim may be Kameron Stenzel, a 15-year-old Niagara Wheatfield High School student who slipped into the lower river gorge on Monday while fishing with his father.

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Fire Department reported the discovery at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday. The department said "emergency services are responding to the Navy Hall area on Ricardo Street at the water's edge for reports of a body in the water." 

A short time later, the department said a sailboat had pulled-up to the body to stand-by until a police rescue boat arrived.

New York State Park police said later that "at approximately 2 p.m., a male body was recovered by Canadian authorities in the area of Niagara on the Lake. At this time a positive identification has not been made."

Park Police investigators said they were "sharing information with the Ontario Forensic Pathology Center who is leading the investigation."

The area where the body was found coincides with where U.S. authorities had been concentrating their search for the teen. On Wednesday, helicopters from the New York State Police and U.S. Coast Guard, a dive team from the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and State Park Police officers walking the gorge trails, found no sign of the missing teen.

The dive team had been searching in the lower river just south of the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Youngstown, while Park police and the choppers focused on the shoreline between Lewiston and Old Fort Niagara.

Stenzel and his dad, Scott Stenzel, had been fishing in the lower Niagara River, just off the Lower Gorge Trail in Whirlpool State Park on Monday morning. Witnesses and hikers in the area said the father and son were in an area of the lower gorge know as “the flats”, when Kameron slipped on the rocks jutting into the Niagara River and slid into the water.

The teen reportedly went under the fast moving water and did not resurface.

Park police said they initially centered their search efforts on the Lower Gorge Trail, in the area of the cable car.

Kameron’s mother Colleen Carey said she, along with family members and friends have been frantically searching the shoreline since the accident.

“He was my gentle giant,” she said on Wednesday of the sophomore member of Niagara Wheatfield’s Junior Varsity Football team. “He was bigger than me, built like a football player. He did not deserve this. People are saying ‘RIP’ (rest in peace) and ‘fly high’ but we still don’t know. We hope for a miracle.”

Carey said Kameron’s dad has been struggling to cope with what happened.

“I am being strong for me and him,” she said, while still clinging to a sliver of hope.

In the statement released Thursday evening by Park police, Major Clyde Doty, the local Park Police commander, said, "It is our sincere hope that Kameron has been found so that his family may find a small piece of closure."  

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