P.E.I. Green Party candidate Josh Underhay and his young son died in a canoeing accident in the Hillsborough River on Friday, the party has confirmed.

Underhay was the party’s candidate in District 9, Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park.

In a news release, Queens District RCMP said they received a call Friday at about 4:20 p.m. reporting two people missing on the Hillsborough River. Police said the pair had gone canoeing in the afternoon, but had not returned to the agreed pickup spot at the appointed time.

Police said rescue crews found the man and boy located in the water near their capsized canoe, and that both had been wearing flotation devices.  

‘Dear friend and colleague’

They were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, where they were declared deceased.

According to his profile on the Green Party’s website, Underhay was also a teacher at Birchwood Intermediate school in Charlottetown and an avid trumpet player.

Josh Underhay and his young son were found in the Hillsborough River near their capsized canoe on Friday. Police say they were both wearing flotation devices. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

“Josh has been a dear friend and colleague of mine for many years, as a volunteer, musician, passionate cycling advocate and Green Party supporter,” said P.E.I. Green Party Leader Bevan-Baker.

“He has touched the lives of everyone who knew him, including the students he taught, fellow musicians¬†and members of the party.”

Campaign activities suspended

He says all party activities will be suspended for the remainder of the campaign, which is set to wrap up when Islanders go to the polls on Tuesday.

It’s unclear how this will affect the election, particularly in Underhay’s riding.

Josh Underhay was the Green Party candidate for District 9: Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

The three other major political parties on the Island have also said they’ll suspend campaign activities at least for Saturday.

“Josh brought humour, enthusiasm and boundless energy to every situation,” said Bevan-Baker. “I simply cannot imagine how much he will be missed.”

Along with police, fire departments from Charlottetown, Stratford and North River were called in for the search, as well as the Department of Fisheries and P.E.I. Ground Search and Rescue.

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