A logging truck driver plunged from the road into water and died Wednesday near Caycuse. (Google Maps image)

UPDATE: Driver dies when truck plunges off logging road near Caycuse

Fatal incident near Caycuse claims life of man in his 60s

A logging truck driver died after his truck plunged into water beside a road near Caycuse on Wednesday morning.

The man, who the B.C. Coroner’s Service said was in his 60s, was under contract to Kaatza Logging, a contractor for TimberWest, working near Honeymoon Bay operations.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, the truck left the road approximately two kilometres past Nixon River Bridge, which is three kilometres east of Caycuse. It went into standing water beside the road and became submerged.

“We express our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues affected by this tragic accident,” TimberWest President and CEO Jeff Zweig said on Wednesday afternoon. “A fatality within our forest community deeply impacts all of us. We are working closely with the RCMP, WorkSafe and our contractor on the investigation.”

According to a comment on the Lake Cowichan Gazette’s Facebook page, work was shut down following the death.

“It was a sad day on the rigging when we got the call to stop logging and shut ‘er down for the day,” Raymond Monk wrote. “Without a word said, we knew something was wrong. We don’t get shut down like that for any other reason.”

On the Cowichan Valley Citizen’s Facebook page, logging truck driver Doug Liske wrote, “My heart goes out to his family, co-workers and friends. I’m going to miss you, my friend, and every time I get in that seat your memory will be right there riding along with me.”

WorkSafeBC spokesperson Trish Knight Chernecki said that her agency had been contacted by TimberWest at 7:50 a.m. on Wednesday. The incident is believed to have taken place around 4:40 a.m. Knight Chernecki also confirmed that WorkSafeBC is investigating the incident.

None of the agencies connected to the investigation had commented on the state of the road, but the Cowichan Lake area had seen extensive rainfall in the days leading up to the incident. The Truck Loggers Association confirmed that there is a Rainfall Shutdown Criteria at which drivers are not permitted to be on logging roads.

CoCoRaHS (the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network), which is considered reliable by Environment Canada, recorded 28.7 mm of rain on Sunday, 42.4 mm on Monday, 28.4 mm on Tuesday and 103.1 mm on Wednesday at its Lake Cowichan station, for more than 200 mm over a four-day span.

Armel Castellan of Environment Canada noted that November rainfall has been higher than usual.

“In the first half of the month, we’ve already seen close to 70 per cent of the average November precipitation for that area,” he said.

An RCMP dive team joined fire crews at the scene earlier on Wednesday to search for the driver, while heavy equipment was deployed to recover the truck.

“No indications as to how much fuel is on board due to vehicle being submerged, however sheen on water and diesel odour was noted,” read a report from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Fire department has deployed spill pads to address fuel leakage.”

Due to concerns relating to fuel in the water, the First Nations Health Authority, Vancouver Island Health Authority and Lake Cowichan First Nation were all advised of the incident.

Just Posted

Valley secondary school salad bar launches at Isfeld

Although there isn’t a formal cafeteria in the school, students at Mark… Continue reading

Comox considers plastic bag ban

Council has taken one step closer to banning single-use plastic bags and straws within the town.

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Comox Valley Cycling Coalition AGM upcoming

The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition will have a couple of special guest… Continue reading

Update: Early morning shooting in Courtenay

Reporter at taped-off scene outside apartment complex

NIC hosts high school students

North Island College hosted a High School Open House Thursday at the… Continue reading

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

NIC Comox Valley to add student housing

168 units expected to open in 2022

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read