The waters of Lake Ontario claimed the life of 20 year old Donald Shearer, May Street, Beamsville, while his brother Craig "Red" Shearer was rescued in a state of near exhaustion. The accident occurred late Sunday afternoon, east of Lincoln Avenue, Beamsville, as the two boys drifted away from a crowded beach, using a make-shift raft which was carried along by a fairly strong offshore breeze.
The brothers had been atop the raft for a considerable time, when Craig swam to shore to speak to a companion, Hunter Jenkins, who was sitting on the beach.
"'Red' sat down for a minute to have a smoke," said Jenkins, "and I kidded him about taking so long to swim from the raft to shore. He then swam back out to rejoin his brother on the raft, which by this time had drifted some 300 yards out in the lake and nearly half a mile from the foot of Lincoln Avenue."
According to Craig, he returned to the raft and his brother said that he didn't think he could swim to shore. "I told him the best thing for us to do was for me to swim in and get a boat. I dove in and started to swim, when I noticed Don had also left the raft and was following. Suddenly he complained of a cramp and I returned to help him. We both went under the water. I could not hold him. He never came back to the surface."
Craig was then picked up by a boat, but no trace could be found of Donald. Dragging operations were started very shortly, under the supervision of Provincial Constables Garrett and Robbie. These continued until after dark, and were called off then until 7 o'clock Monday morning. At 8:40 Monday morning, the body was located in 20 feet of water, as police and volunteers combed the area in small boats, and a fishing boat brought to the scene by Bill Hand of Grimsby. Gary Lampman of Beamsville brought the body to the surface.
This tragedy makes the first drowning fatality in this area for some time, and it strikes the Shearer family especially hard, as the victim's father, Andrew Shearer, was killed in a railway-crossing accident just 3 years ago. A sister, Lloy, also survives besides the sorrowing mother, who was away for the weekend when the accident happened.