Family and friends are remembering a 25-year-old Surrey man who died in a drowning incident near Mission on Sunday (Aug. 16).
Dhan Bains died Sunday while at Davis Lake with a group of friends, said Gurp Samra, whose brother is married to Bains’ sister.
It was a month before his 26th birthday.
Samra said Bains and his friends had gone for a hike in the area earlier in the day before heading to the lake.
“He swam from shore to the float in the middle of the lake, and he was just fine. Then when he got to the float, they were all wrapping and ready to go,” said Samra.
“Him and one other friend, they got into the water to swim back and his friend turned back around to the float and said, ‘It’s too far, I don’t think I’ll make it.’ Dhan kept swimming.”
Samra said the “only likely scenario” is that Bains got a leg cramp while swimming back to shore.
“Being an athlete like Dhan, nobody believes that he got tired or that there was an endurance problem. I don’t believe that for a second because of how much physical activity he did on a regular basis,” Samra explained, adding it was very hot that day.
“They had just gone on a hike and they had been swimming all day. I think just from the fatigue and the dehydration, he got a really bad leg cramp.”
Samra added that Bains wasn’t wearing a lifejacket at the time of the incident.
“The biggest thing that we’re trying to get across to the community, is just to be safe, take precautions, wear your lifejackets, encourage one another to wear lifejackets instead of belittling each other about wearing lifejackets. I think that’s something that’s been a problem with youth and young adults.”
According to B.C. Emergency Health Services, paramedics have responded to 149 water incidents so far this summer, with two more weeks left in August.
Atish Ram, whose son Tyler was friends with Bains, said the news of his death has been “a shock” as the 25-year-old had become “like our son.”
“To us, it’s quite tragic because it was such a young life. He was such a giving person, giving back to the community. His attitude was always like, ‘I’ve got this,” said Ram. “I’m always sad when I hear about death, but when I hear about a young person who’s got such a long life ahead of them, and cut short like that, it’s just devastating.”
Like Samra, Ram said the message now is: “When you go swimming whatever you do, look out for one another. Don’t feel that you’re invincible.”
For Tyler, who coached Bains in basketball at Sullivan Heights Secondary, his death is “overwhelming, but it’s just nice to see how much of an impact he had on such a broad group of people.”
The two “built a connection” through basketball and later “became like family,” Tyler said.
He remembered Bains playing in the Hoops for Kids tournament that benefits BC Children’s Hospital. Tyler said Bains played in it three of the last four years.
“It’s actually amazing to see how many people that he touched, and how many people that he knew,” said Ram. “So many people have reached out to me, his friends, his family, and people you haven’t seen in so long, but he made such an impact on them that they want to pay their respects.”
And the support has been overwhelming.
A community Facebook group has been started in memory of Bains and in a little more than a day, nearly $18,000 has been raised through a GoFundMe, which will be going to a cause of the family’s choosing, said Samra.
“The plan is that we will be deciding on something that Dhan was a part of, something that he was close with.”
A candlelight vigil is also planned outside of Bains’ former high school, Sullivan Heights Secondary, on Sunday (Aug. 23) at 6 p.m. Wax candles are not allowed, and people are asked to bring battery charged candles.
Due to COVID-19, masks are mandatory at the vigil.
Asked how Bains will be remembered, Samra said, “Dhan had a million-dollar smile and he lit up the room he walked into. He was the most versatile person, he would get along with any group of people.”
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The world has lost a beautiful soul, Rest In Peace Dhan Bains. It was an honour and privilege to have coached this young man, a brilliant smile, exceptional athleticism and an endearing personality, Dhan was a joy to be around. Our deepest condolences to the Bains family, know that Dhan was deeply loved by many. Take care of each other #AEFam, life and friendship is such a gift.
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Sullivan Heights Athletics expresses our sincerest sympathies to the family and friends of Dhan Bains. The impact of this loss will be felt throughout our school community. Not only was Dhan a leader amongst his peers, he was also someone that younger students admired. Dhan was heavily involved in our athletics program, but his presence within our school reached much further than the basketball court or soccer field. A good heart stopped beating. You will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace Dhan Bains.
– With files from Katya Slepian