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

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

Temperatures are expected to soar by the weekend, with potentially record-breaking heat in the low 30Cs. Those looking to beat the heat in the ocean are advised to pack plenty of sunscreen and water. Black Press file photo
Potential record-breaking heatwave heading to the Comox Valley

“It’s the start of the season and we’re not quite acclimatized to warm temperatures”

Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie assumed leadership of the Canadian Joint Operations Command on June 18. File photo
Vice-Admiral Auchterlonie assumes leadership of Canadian Joint Operations Command

On June 18, Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie returned to the Canadian Joint Operations… Continue reading

Bill Anglin (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation president & 50/50 Sponsor), Robert Mulrooney (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation board director & 50/50 sponsor), Jessica Aldred (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation executive director), and Chris Morrison (Church St. Taphouse co-Owner and manager) in front of Church St. Taphouse in Comox. Photo submitted
Church St. tapping beer for Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation all week

With a heatwave hitting the Comox Valley this week, a beer on… Continue reading

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

CSWM is working on engineering and design for the next landfill cell. Record file photo
CSWM makes budget change for new landfill cell

“It bears to note for the public, you’re paying for it one way or the other here.”

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

Most Read