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

Cat defenders Kimberly Feeny (left) and Zeke Sijohn (centre) stand beside Councillor Neil Krog after signing a lease at city hall for the Boundary Helping Hands’ cat shelter. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks’ city hall leases vacant home for cat shelter

Boundary Helping Hands’ Chair Kimberly Feeny said the shelter hopes to start adopting cats soon

Christopher Blair McLean appeared at the Grand Forks courthouse on Wednesday, March 3. File photo
Greenwood man won’t stand trial for alleged city assault

The man was awaiting trial in Grand Forks

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Midway’s Boundary Expo Recreation Centre (above) is a mainstay of the local community and the Boundary area more broadly, according to Village officials. Photo: Submitted
West Boundary arena to get equipment overhaul thanks to provincial grant

The funds are being put toward new refrigeration equipment at Midway’s Boundary Expo Rec. Centre

A member of the Avalanche Canada South Rockies field team gathers important snowpack data that is used to produce daily avalanche forecasts for the region. Photo by Jennifer Coulter.
Warming temperatures increase avalanche risk heading into the weekend

Warm temperatures impact conditions, human behaviour

Thursday, Feb. 4: RDKB Chief Engineer Darryl Funk hoists a banner commemorating last year’s championship season by the Bantam House Bruins. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Bantam Bruins honoured at hair-raising banner ceremony at Grand Forks’ Jack Goddard Arena

Asst. coach Mike Tollis said he reluctantly gave in to the team’s victory wish that he cut his pony tale

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

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

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read