Young diver dead after incident at private music festival in Bayham

A young Kitchener diver who hoped to compete in the Olympics died Sunday at private music festival near Port Burwell.

Colton James (C.J.) Moore, 24, died near the end of the Playground 2018 festival held at Otter River Farms, a private property off McQuiggan Line in the Municipality of Bayham with camping and cabins. Moore died in an apparent drowning, festival organizers said in Facebook post.

Moore was a bio medical engineering student at the University of Waterloo, his obituary said. He was ranked nationally as a springboard and platform diver and was a member of the K-W Diving Club.

“He was working on his dream to return to diving, and again trying to qualify for the Olympics. But most of all C.J. was a kind, sweet, funny soul who was loved by everyone who met him,”

Doug Dennis, who owns Otter River Farms, said about 500 people attended the three-day festival. He said Moore and a female friend wanted to go down the Otter River in a floating device.

“His friends twice tried to stop him from going down the river,” Dennis said. “He was determined to go down the river.”

The river contains ash tree branches and trunks from ash trees that have been felled by the emerald ash borer, Dennis said.

Police and paramedics found Moore without vital signs when they arrived at 6 p.m.

Elgin OPP issued a news release Monday about police activity at the festival. Police didn’t identify the festival and didn’t reveal Moore’s identity.

Officers attended the festival four times, twice for noise complaints that resulted in charges against the landowner and a festival organizer.

Police responded at 3 a.m. Sunday to help paramedics deal with a 29-year-old Etobicoke man who was “combative.”

OPP officers returned to the festival at 6 p.m. Sunday along with Bayham firefighters and paramedics after receiving a report aman had been found without vital signs.

The death is being treated as non-suspicious, police said, and a post mortem was scheduled.

The hosts of the Playground 2018 music festival, Toronto-based Wiggly Events, acknowledged Moore’s death in a Facebook post.

“Unfortunately we have not received much reliable information regarding what exactly happened, other than that it is being treated as a non-suspicious drowning that occurred within the Otter River at a significant distance off of the playground event’s safety zone,” the statement read.

Wiggly Events said it had contacted with Moore’s closest friends, who were also at Playground, and offered support for them and the families involved.

A visitation for Moore will be held Thursday and a celebration of life for him will take place Saturday at the Humanities Theatre at the University of Waterloo.his obituary said.

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