Body of missing Chinese teen found in lake

By LINDA DENG | | Updated: 2017-07-29 03:09

The body of an 18-year-old high school student from China was found in Lake Whatcom at Camp Firwood near Bellingham, Washington, authorities said.

Authorities located the body of Bin Wangon on Wednesday using an underwater camera. He was visiting the camp as part of a tour group. The body was turned over to the Whatcom County Medical Examiner's Office.

The tour company and Wang's family in China were notified. The Consulate General of China in San Francisco is helping to arrange for Wang's parents to come to the United States as soon as possible.

Tom Beaumont, executive director at The Firs, which operates Camp Firwood, said Wang was the first death at the youth camp, which opened in 1955.

"I'm deeply saddened to report that the search ended this afternoon and our high school camper was found to be the victim of an accidental drowning," Beaumont said via text message Wednesday night. "Our focus now is on caring for our campers, staff and parents."

Wang was last seen on Tuesday around 4:30 pm during a sailboat tipping drill with other campers, the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office said. Wang didn't participate in the drill but was seen at a beach near the water, authorities said. He had removed his shirt, shoes and socks and had asked another camper to hold his glasses.

The Sheriff's Office says that Wang didn't know how to swim and that no one could recall seeing him enter the water. A lifeguard on duty at the time also noted no unusual activity.

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said that the water goes quickly from being shallow to a steep 30-foot drop in the area where Wang was last seen.

Rob Lee, director of Camp Firwood, told parents of campers that on Tuesday the campgrounds and adjacent shore areas were thoroughly searched. The search was suspended at dusk and resumed on Wednesday.

Camp Firwood is an American Camp Association approved Christian summer camp  on  Lake Whatcom, southeast of Bellingham and half hour drive to the Canada–United States border. The camp runs for 10 weeks for youth 7-18 years of age, and houses up to 260 campers a week.

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