BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)

Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

The suspected drowning death of a 64-year-old North Saanich resident Monday could be the first drowning death in British Columbia in 2021.

Dale Miller, executive director of the Lifesaving Society of BC and the Yukon, said preliminary numbers show 42 drownings in British Columbia in 2020, and none yet this year, other than the Saanich incident.

Drowning statistics kept by the society include only preventable (unintentional) deaths, and do not account for deaths due to natural causes, suicide, or homicide.

Police say the man who died at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard Monday night likely drowned. Police received a call at around 10:30 p.m. about the man being unable to pull himself out after he had fallen into the water. Paramedics made attempts to revive the man but he died at the marina.

Neither police nor the investigating coroner will release the identity of the 64-year-old man. The marina has yet to provide comment, but the incident is not on the radar of WorkSafeBC.

“I can confirm that WorkSafeBC was not involved with this incident,” said Ivy Yuen, a spokesperson.

Regional figures from the Lifesaving Society of BC and the Yukon show four individuals drowned in and around Vancouver Island in 2020. The last within the 2020 calendar year was the death of 80-year-old Hesquiaht elder Harry Lucas, whose remains were found near Tofino on Jan. 2. He had reportedly left Ahousaht by boat alone around 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31 and was on his way to Hot Springs Cove.

RELATED: Missing First Nations elder found dead near Tofino

RELATED: Body of third missing man found in Sooke River

In another incident, Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and Anthony (A.J.) Jensen of Sooke, all 20 years old, were last seen alive around 11 p.m. Friday, on Jan. 31. Crews recovered their bodies days later following a rapid rise in the level of Sooke River following heavy rainfall.

RELATED: UPDATED: Man, 64, likely drowned after falling into water at North Saanich marina, say police

According to available statistics from the Office of the Chief Coroner, health authorities recorded 666 drowning deaths between 2008 and 2016.

According to that agency, fatal drownings were most common in the summer months, peaking at an average of 13.6 deaths per year, with men accounting for 79.6 per cent. Individuals aged 19 to 29 accounted for the largest share of fatalities at almost 24 per cent of all fatalities, followed by individuals aged 50 to 59 years with 17 per cent.

Alcohol and / or drugs contributed to 40 per cent of drowning deaths between 2008 and 2015. Boating (21.8 per cent), swimming (16.8 per cent) and falls into water (16.5 per cent) were the three activities in which drownings were most likely to occur.

Miller said the trend line for accidental drowning deaths is downward.

“The 42 (deaths) in 2020 is the lowest ever (since the society starting keeping records for the last 30 years) and of course that is still 42 too many.”

Contrary to predictions, COVID-19 did not lead to more people swimming outdoors, thereby increasing the potential for drowning, he said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A memorial to Hudson Brooks outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment. (File photo)
Officer who fatally shot Hudson Brooks recounts ‘absolutely terrifying’ incident

Const. Elizabeth Cucheran testified at coroner’s inquest Tuesday morning

Riverside Calvary Church in Walnut Grove. (Langley Advance Times file)
B.C. is ‘stereotyping’ churches as riskier for COVID than other spaces, lawyer argues

Judge said that freedom of expression, religion are not at issue in the case

Which came first? Actually, you might not need the chicken at all pretty soon. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Painful Truth: Eggs without chickens?

What does that do to poultry farmers?

A player is checked in prior to the start of play in a North Langley Softball video produced to demonstrate COVID-19 safety measures are in place (Danica Reed video/special to Langley Advance Times)
Playing it safe: North Langley Softball produces COVID safety video

Intended to answer parental concerns about precautions while practicing during a pandemic

Vancouver Giants president, governor and majority owner Ron Toigo welcomed the provincial announcement made on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021 that the province could soon allow WHL teams to resume competitive play. (Vancouver Giants/Special to Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: Return to play by Vancouver Giants team confirmed

Owner, coach and players pleased by news WHL will resume play in B.C.

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria both have a MySafe machine to help reduce overdoses

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

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

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Dr. Amit Desai of St. Francis Hospital receives a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 17. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
B.C. has now vaccinated more people from COVID-19 than total confirmed cases

B.C. has reached a milestone, vaccinating roughly 1.6% of its population from the coronavirus

Abbotsford Regional Hospital (Black Press file photo)
Nurse assaulted at Abbotsford hospital in same ward as 2019 dumbbell attack

‘Completely unacceptable that nurses continue to be assaulted,’ says union president

Most Read