Man dies after being pulled from Puntledge River

A 42-year-old man died after tubing down the river, was not wearing a PFD

COMOX VALLEY GROUND Search and Rescue Crews return to Puntledge Park Wednesday evening after transporting a tubing victim from the Puntledge River

A man tubing down the Puntledge River late Wednesday afternoon has died following rescue attempts by friends, a Search and Rescue crew and even an off-duty firefighter.

Comox Valley RCMP confirm a 42-year-old-man, who was new to the area, got separated from his group tubing down the river.

“This male had admitted to his friends earlier that he wasn’t a strong swimmer and he wasn’t wearing a PFD (personal flotation device), his friends found him floating in the water. His friends starting performing CPR on him,” noted Const. Kelly Godard.

“We are so thankful to his friends — they were taking direction from the RCMP on how to perform CPR and they were at it for quite a long time. They really did give his friend a fighting chance,” she added.

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said they got called to the river around 5:30 p.m., and set up communications with BC Ambulance and RCMP.

“The patient was found face down in the water, they started CPR, we got our crews set up and set SAR (Search and Rescue) on scene. SAR put their boats in the water upstream and floated down, retrieved the patient, brought him downstream and now they’re in the process of just wrapping up getting the other four victims off the water,” he explained.

Bardonnex added there were five people on Dumas Island with the victim, when one of his off-duty firefighters was coming downstream.

“One of our officers was coming downstream on a tube, saw someone on the bank and saw the victim on the Island and dumped his tube and swam over for assistance. He was doing CPR with the people who were already on the Island until SAR got there to evacuate the patient out.”

Paul Berry, search manager and president of the Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue (CVGSAR), said about 20 members quickly arrived on scene, including those trained in swift water rescue.

He added the patient was in cardiac arrest and team members used their automated external defibrillator and continued CPR until arriving at Puntledge Park where the patient was taken away by ambulance.

“It’s a popular spot, (but) a medical condition can happen anywhere. It’s a beautiful spot, lots of people were out there with life jackets on with their tubes so some were acting safely, we were just hoping everyone would,” he said.

Some members of a second group of people upstream who witnessed the incident on Indian Rock were assisted by CVGSAR to cross the river safely.

“It’s nice that we have that many volunteers in the Valley willing to jump to someone else’s aid, but in all honesty, I wish those people wouldn’t be in those positions in the first place,” noted Bardonnex.

Godard added even a strong swimmer can get fooled by the fast moving water and debris.

“You don’t know what’s under there. There’s rocks, there’s trees, there’s debris. Whether you’re a strong swimmer or not, it’s in your best interest, your friends best interest, and your families’ best interest to definitely wear a PFD.”

RCMP will be working with the B.C. Coroner’s office to determine the cause of death. Alcohol is believed to have played a role, along with the fact the man was a non swimmer, noted police.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Just Posted

Heliports certified at Comox Valley, Campbell River hospitals

Both sites should see heliports up and running by late summer

Crown Isle acquires Longlands Golf Course

The Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community just got a little bit… Continue reading

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Three small wildfires burning west of Courtenay

The blazes are the result of a brief thunderstorm last night

Outdoor classroom coming to Huband Park Elementary

The project has been a collaboration of various community groups, says PAC member

VIDEO: Trades jobs the way of the future on Vancouver Island?

Hundreds of people attend Black Press Career Fair in Nanaimo

UPDATED: Crown appeals B.C. polygamous leader’s acquittal in child bride case

James Oler had been charged with taking his underage daughter to the U.S. to marry her off

Housing would cut number of B.C.’s vulnerable re-admitted to hospital: study

New SFU work shows just how costly frequent hospitalization is to the province’s health care system

Disney production filming at Victoria’s Government House today

Made-for-TV movie will feature the inside of the Rockland Avenue mansion

3 dead after semi-truck collides with car on B.C. Interior highway

Police said the intersection between Highway 97 and Highway 99 would remain closed for some time

Keep your pets safe while driving

ICBC and SPCA join forces on pet safety awareness initiative

Reports of explosion in Okanagan turn out to be squirrel vs. power line

The noise was described as ‘similar to a shotgun blast’ that shook the Earth

A look at what Canadian teams might do in the 1st round of the NHL draft

Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Edmonton in top 10 of upcoming draft

Koko, the gorilla who knew sign language, dies at 46

Western lowland gorilla, 46, died in her sleep in California

Most Read