Teen Gets Swept Up in Niagara River Gorge and Dies While Out Fishing With His Father

Kameron Stenzel, 15, died after accidentally falling into the Niagara Gorge while out fishing with his father.

“I can’t imagine what the father is going through. You take your son out on a fishing trip and it ends in tragedy,” NYS Parks Police Major Clyde Doty said. “It’s a terrible, terrible accident.'

A 15-year-old boy fishing with his father on the Niagara River for a day of fun, took a tragic turn when the teen accidentally fell and was swept away by the swift river currents in the Niagara Gorge, officials said. 

On Thursday afternoon, after a harrowing four-day search, Canadian authorities recovered a body, which was positively identified as Kameron Stenzel, New York State Park Police confirmed, The Buffalo News reported. 

Stenzel of had been fishing with his father down in the Niagara Gorge on Oct. 11 when his fishing line got tangled. While he was attempting to retrieve it he slipped into the lower Niagara River and was swept downstream, New York State Police Detective Sgt. Brian Nisbet told NBC station WGRZ.

“His father tried to help him but was unable to rescue him,” Nisbet said, People reported. 

Divers searched in the lower river just south of the U.S Coast Guard Station in Youngstown, while Park police and helicopters focused their efforts on the shoreline between Lewiston and Old Fort Niagara. The Ontario Forensic Pathology Center was the lead investigating the case, the Niagara-Gazette reported.

On Thursday around 1:30 p.m., Canadian authorities found the teenager's body near Niagara- on-the Lake, according to The Buffalo News.

The department said a sailboat had pulled up to the body to stand by until a police rescue boat arrived, a report said.

Family and friends of the teen had gathered at a candlelight vigil at Lewiston Landing when they learned that the body found was Stenzel’s, the Niagara-Gazette reported.

Days before Stenzel's body was discovered, the family had been praying for a miracle.

Kameron’s mother, Colleen Carey, told Buffalo news that her son and his father had been at Whirlpool State Park's Lower Gorge Trail, a location where they had fished together multiple times. 

Carey had been frantically searching the shoreline for her son, according to reports. She had posted on Facebook a community request asking for prayers and for anyone who lives out near the gorge to help look for her boy.

“Kameron baby I love and I won’t stop looking for you,” she wrote in a heartbreaking post. “Momma is still looking for you.”

Until she learned of the heartbreaking news.

"He did not deserve this," said Carey, who described her son as her “gentle giant.” “He was bigger than me, built like a football player."

Stenzel had been a sophomore member of Niagara Wheatfield’s Junior Varsity Football team.  She told the Niagara-Gazette that Steznel’s father is traumatized and trying to cope with the unexpected tragedy.

“I am being strong for me and him,” she said.

New York State Parks Police Major Clyde Doty said in a statement to ABC affiliate WKBW that “our hearts are broken.”

Doty told WKBW that the “waters are unforgiving.”

“He was on a rock and had some algae — the rock was slippery the rock was wet and he slipped into the water,” Doty told the news station

Doty added, “I can’t imagine what the father is going through. You take your son out on a fishing trip and it ends in tragedy,” Doty said. “It’s a terrible, terrible accident.” 

A GoFundMe has been created to help the family pay for funeral expenses. The fundraiser was set up by John Restiano, the brother of the Niagara Falls mayor and friend of Stenzel’s mother, WKBW reported.

“They’re so devastated. They didn’t want to speak - to anyone - hardly to me on just messenger,” Restiano said, the news outlet report. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, $3,730 has been raised towards their goal of $50,000.

“Kameron's mom needs help during every parent's nightmare. Consider trying to go on with everyday life. Paying bills, going to work etc. Let's help try to take at least one worry from Colleen's mind,” Resiano wrote. 

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