In a tragic incident, a research student from Kerala who was pursuing his doctorate at the University of Victoria died in a surfing accident near Tofino in Canada.
The deceased has been identified as 24-year-old Nijin John, who was a native of Karunagapally in Kerala.
The incident is believed to have occurred in the waters off Long Beach at around 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon.
According to witnesses, the man was seen with a group of people learning to surf, and was last spotted having CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) performed on him.
“Attempts are on to repatriate the body. Due to public holiday there, we are yet to complete the paper work. We hope formalities will be completed in the next working day. The family has arranged a relative there to coordinate the formalities,” said P Suresh Kumar, ward councillor.
He added that MPs NK Premachandran and KC Venugopal are in constant touch with Vikas Swarup, India’s High Commissioner to Canada.
Nijin’s cousin Sham said that he had joined the University of Victoria last month for research in Surface Restructuring of Films and described him as a brilliant student.
“He also excelled in extracurricular activities, emerging champion in CBSE regional athletics meet and winning the Science India Forum Talent Award, among others. He was also a recipient of Bank Muscat Award, presented to him by former President APJ Abdul Kalam in 2009,” Sham added.
After completing his integrated MSc in Photonics from Cusat (Cochin University of Science and Technology), Nijin handled various projects at IIST Thiruvananthapuram, IIT Ropar, KIT Germany and at the University of Victoria.
Vivin Mathew, a friend of Nijin John and Treasurer, Kerala Cultural Association of British Columbia, has begun a fundraising campaign to help with the funeral expenses.
‘Everyone from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Victoria wish to pass along heartfelt condolences to the family. Nijin was a very well respected researcher and teaching assistant - he will be greatly missed by his students and coworkers,’ a post by the colleagues said.