Three young men recognized by OPP for valiant attempts to save drowning man in Meldrum Bay

AYLMER – Three young men who tried valiantly to save 18-year-old Kyle Benedict in a drowning incident in Meldrum Bay earlier this summer have been recognized for their heroic efforts.

Jordan Hamilton, Nathan Hamilton and Hayden Yates were awarded with life saving citations by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) at a ceremony that took place at the OPP Police College in Aylmer last week. Jordan and Nathan Hamilton are both from Guelph and their cousin, Hayden Yates, stays with them in Guelph during the summer months. 

Derek Rogers, media relations coordinator for the OPP master of ceremonies at the ceremony held September 19 said, “on July 22, 2019, four young men went for a swim in Meldrum Bay after cutting and stacking wood.”

“They all jumped off the docks and started treading water,” said Mr. Rogers. “Not long after, Jordan noticed one of the boys struggling and swam closer to him. He looked panicked and was afraid he (Kyle Benedict) was drowning. The boy lost consciousness. Nathan swam and got a hold of him. All three boys then swam to shore with him. Hayden went and sought help.”

“First aid trained adults attended the beach and performed CPR until first responders attended to assist,” said Mr. Rogers. “Unfortunately, the young man did not survive but this in no way takes from their brave life saving actions.”

“Today we honour these three young men for risking their life to save their friend,” added Mr. Rogers.

As was reported previously, on Monday, July 22, 2019, at approximately 1:26 pm, officers from the Manitoulin Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), with the assistance of the Sudbury-Manitoulin Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded to a report of a possible drowning in Meldrum Bay. 

An 18-year-old male, Kyle Benedict, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was with other people at the time, and was swimming at the dock area in Meldrum Bay when the incident occurred. Mr. Benedict had been visiting relatives in Silver Water.

A Go Fund Me fundraising page had been established online, In Memory of Kyle Benedict, to help his family with the funeral and travel costs.

The page stated, “a sudden tragedy has taken a vibrant 18-year-old man from this world, his family and his many friends. 

Kyle was the loving son of his mother, Samantha Davis. He was his Dad, William Benedict’s, shadow. His little sister Aurora was his best friend from day one. He recently completed Grade 12 at John McGregor Secondary School in Chatham. Always the academic, he decided to stay for one more year, a victory lap, before heading to post secondary education. He will be missed by teachers and students alike when September rolls around.

His friends, of which there are many, are mourning what was a gentle soul. He was inclusive, fun, adventurous, caring and a pillar of strength.

His early days saw him as a hockey player. He played against kids double his size, but he had triple the spirit. His family was always so proud of his accomplishments and never missed those early ice times. Kyle excelled in hockey, but when he turned into a teenager, he opted for something different to fill his free-time, cadets.

Kyle was a member of 59th Legion Highlander Army Cadet Corps in Chatham, Ontario. Through the years he rose to the rank of Master Warrant Officer (Acting Regimental Sergeant Major at the last Annual Inspection). He was a leader. A friend to all. He had many opportunities with cadets that brought him to far-reaching places in the name of Expedition. Few cadets are chosen for the course. He had two recommendations for it, and again, he excelled. He went hiking and white-water rafting. He camped and learned survival skills.