Courtenay teen dies in sleep on overnight field trip to Hornby Island
Sara Manitoski, a Grade 11 student at Georges P. Vanier Secondary, died in her sleep while on an outing to the Gulf Island as part of an outdoor education program. (Facebook)
A 15-year-old Comox Valley student died in her sleep while on an overnight field trip to Hornby Island earlier this week, her school confirmed Thursday.
Sara Manitoski, a Grade 11 student at Georges P. Vanier Secondary, was on an outing to the Gulf Island as part of the Explore Program, an outdoor education program that has students hone their leadership, learning and outdoor skills.
After going to bed Tuesday night following a night of team-building activities and campfire singing, Manitoski was found unresponsive the next morning when others attempted to wake her up.
Staff and students immediately started performing CPR on her until first responders showed up.
“Between their efforts, and the efforts of the fire department and paramedics on Hornby they were not able to revive her,” said Paul Berry, coordinator of SD71’s critical incident response team.
The team was dispatched to the island following the teen’s unexpected death to counsel students.
“Their concern was for each other, how do we help Sarah, how do we help her family,” said Berry. “Just a very together group of young men and women and great response from the staff as well in the midst of a terrible crisis.”
The investigation is now in the hands of the BC Coroners Service, which will try to determine how the 15-year-old girl died in her sleep.
“We have nothing to believe other than this was a natural death, but that will ultimately be determined,” Berry said. “That makes it all the more tragic that you can have someone who’s vibrant and alive and happy at bedtime, and doesn’t wake up. So many unanswered questions for everyone involved.”
The school identified Manitoski in a Facebook post to parents and is asking any staff or students who feel they need support to contact them for assistance.