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

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

A member of the Vernon Search and Rescue winch helicopter team pulls a skier who broke her leg at the gorge backcountry area east of Sicamous into the helicopter on Friday March 5. (Shuswap Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Search and rescue helicopter helps injured skier out of Shuswap backcountry

The Salmon Arm woman broke her leg, but was helped out of the bush thanks to radio communication.

SASCU is looking to celebrate its 75th anniversary with a legacy project, in the same way the Shuswap credit union marked its 60th by commissioning the apple sculpture at its downtown location. That artwork includes 14 apples honouring SASCU’s founding families. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap credit union to mark 75th anniversary with legacy project

SASCU will be looking for input from arts community, city

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Okanagan owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Fire ripped through a mobile home on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna on March. 6. (Phil McLachlan - West Kelowna News)
‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes Okanagan mobile home

RCMP confirmed that there were no injuries due to the fire

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read