He came to Canada to learn English and wound up the second of two people to drown in Lost Lake's depths this summer.
Twenty-three-year-old Gil Hyeon Kyung, who also went by the English name "Kahi," drowned in the lake at about 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19 according to police reports, but the incident wasn't made known to authorities until about two hours later.
He was a student at Westactive English College in Function Junction and had been studying there for just over two weeks when he was found dead.
It's believed that Kyung and other students from the college were enjoying a day at Lost Lake Park when they decided to swim to the dock at around 4. Kyung didn't make it to the dock and the others assumed he had turned around.
When they returned to the beach they found his belongings and began to worry. A surface and perimeter search of the Lake yielded no results and searchers were on scene until dark.
His body was found Thursday by members of an RCMP Dive Team at about 10:15 a.m.
An autopsy has been conducted in conjunction with the Coroner's Service but the results haven't been made available. Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair of the Whistler RCMP said it's being conducted to ascertain whether Kyung had a medical condition that contributed to his death.
LeClair called it a "tragic incident," coming as it did on the heels of another drowning in the lake in early June when a 24-year-old Washington State man lost his life.
He called that a "statistical aberration," noting that there hasn't been a drowning in that lake for at least 10 years.
"There's no indication of foul play," added LeClair.
He went on to say there are conflicting reports about Kyung's swimming ability. Some sources have said he had been to pools before and was able to swim in the deep end, while others said he had only been swimming for a couple of months.
"I think it's people's perceptions of what a strong swimmer is," LeClair said.
Kyung's resume indicates he was a strong swimmer. Under hobbies and interests he listed sports, particularly swimming and scuba diving. Under qualifications he said he had an open water diving licence.
Outside his life as an English student, Kyung was into his sixth year of studying psychology at Kangwon National University in Chuncheon, Korea. From March to May he was studying English at the O.K. Academy in the Phillippines. He began studying English in June at Westactive's campus in Vancouver.
During his education Kyung fulfilled his military service in the Republic of Korea Air Force from August 2005 to November 2006, serving as a transfer soldier and helping with vehicle maintenance, as well as towing an M61 Vulcan, a six-barrelled automatic Gatling-style cannon.
He described himself as a hardworking and dependable individual, able to brighten moods with his "smiling and kindly" nature.
When Pique contacted Westactive the person who answered the phone first said "nobody knows about" the incident, but then went on to say she "didn't want to be asked any more" about what happened.
"It's such a tragedy," she said, before saying she wouldn't speak anymore.
- with files from Alison Taylor
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