The 16-year-old victim of a tragic accident that sent an SUV plunging into Toronto’s Don River is being remembered as an outgoing student with a ‘contagious sense of humour.’

AJ Blugerman was one of five people who were in the vehicle Friday evening when it crashed through a guardrail near the Don River and into the water.

Three other passengers and the driver, all in their teens, were able to free themselves from the submerged SUV. They suffered minor injuries.

Blugerman was a Grade 11 student at Bayview Glen School and had recently transferred from St. Michael’s College School.

On Saturday, Bayview Glen principal Eileen Daunt, sent a letter to parents and students.

“During his brief time at Bayview Glen, AJ endeared himself to all of us. He was known for his outgoing nature and his contagious sense of humour,” Daunt wrote in the letter.

“The death of a child is such an overwhelming and unthinkable loss. I know you will want to join me in offering deepest sympathies to the Blugerman family, their relatives and friends.”

Steve Simmons, who coached Blugerman’s minor hockey team, said the teen got along with everyone.

“He was a kid you wished had been yours,” he told CTV Toronto.

The crash occurred as the SUV travelled east on Lake Shore Boulevard toward the Don Roadway.

Police said the vehicle struck the north curb, crossed to the south side of the road and then crashed through the guardrail and into Keating Channel, where the Don River flows into Lake Ontario in the Port Lands.

Four police officers and two firefighters jumped into the water to try to save the teen.

“We just took off our uniforms and jumped in, swam out to the vehicle, tried to find an opening in the vehicle,” Const. Tyler Brett said at a press conference Saturday afternoon.

Blugerman still had his seatbelt on when the first responders reached the car, Const. Brad Mills told reporters.

According to Mills, the roof of the car was about three or four feet below the surface of the water.

“As soon as you went down, you couldn’t see anything; it was black,” Mills said. “You were just kind of feeling around with your hands. I couldn’t even see my hand, it was quite murky.”

Mills said that after failing to find the car door handle, he tried to unbuckle Blugerman’s seatbelt through the open window. Unable to unbuckle it, the officer tried to cut the belt with a knife but was also unsuccessful. He eventually grabbed the teen and tried to pull him out.

Blugerman was eventually pulled out of the SUV after spending about 40 minutes underwater.

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

The four survivors – two males and two females – were taken to hospital as a precaution.

Police say charges are pending and speed and driver experience are being considered as possible factors in the crash.

Alcohol is not believed to have played a part in the accident.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Ashley Rowe