A 30-year-old man died during a firefighter training exercise in Hanover, Ont., on Sunday.

Twelve students were taking part in a training exercise for ice and water rescue on the Saugeen River, approximately 180 kilometres northwest of Toronto.

The exercise was part of a two-day certification course offered to firefighting students by a private firm based out of Newmarket.

Durham College firefighting student Adam Robert Brunt, of Bowmanville, became trapped under the ice during the training at approximately 1 p.m.

Hanover police and firefighters were called to the scene, but it took emergency responders 15 minutes to find Brunt and pull him from the fast-moving river.

Brunt was rushed to hospital, but was later pronounced dead.

"This is what he's always wanted to do," his mother Christy Brunt told CTV Toronto's Zuraidah Alman on Monday.

Brunt would have graduated in June, his father Al Brunt said. He was taking the courses to improve his resume before looking for a job, and was at the top of his class.

He'd hoped to join the fire department in nearby Clarington, where his uncle currently works.

"It's a tragedy that no family should ever go through, especially burying one of your own children," Al Brunt said through tears.

"We never in a million years expected this to happen. We are in shock. And the love of my life is gone," Brunt's girlfriend wrote on Twitter shortly after midnight on Monday.

"You are already so dearly missed."

A statement from Durham College said that the school was "deeply saddened" by the incident.

Brunt’s family says the company that runs the training course is Herschel Rescue.

CTV Toronto has learned that the private firm was also involved in a similar incident in 2010 when 51-year-old Gary Kendall died following an ice-rescue training exercise on the St. Clair River near Sarnia, Ont.

Following his death, the Village of Point Edwards was fined $75,000. Kendall`s family also filed a civil suit against the municipality and Terry Harrison, the owner of Herschel Rescue.

Hanover police are working with the coroner's office and the Ministry of Labour to investigate the incident. A post-mortem examination was scheduled for Monday in London, Ont.

Anyone who witnessed the incident and has not yet contacted police is asked to call investigators at 519-364-2411.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Zuraidah Alman