Friends and family are mourning the death of a Port Alberni man after the Jeep SUV he was in rolled over a 150-foot embankment off a logging road on the outskirts of Port Alberni late Thursday night (Nov. 28). Seven people were in the vehicle at the time.
Friends have identified Connor Gagnon as the young man who died in the crash. All seven occupants were treated by BC Ambulance Service paramedics at the scene and transported to West Coast General Hospital with various injuries. Gagnon was airlifted to a hospital in Victoria, where he later died from his injuries.
“Thank you to everyone that helped my brother out and never left his side,” Gagnon’s sister Alyssa wrote on social media.
A 911 call came into the Port Alberni Fire Department around 12:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29 that the vehicle had rolled on Cameron Main logging road near Bainbridge Lake. “Four people climbed to the roadway. One person stayed with the more seriously injured occupant in the vehicle,” PAFD fire chief Mike Owens said.
PAFD responding to a report of a rollover MVA on Cameron Mainline near Bainbridge Main 75 feet down a cliff. #PAFD
— Port Alberni Fire (@portalbernifire) November 29, 2019
Gagnon was ejected from the vehicle and located a further 50 feet away, in a creek. “That individual was the most seriously injured person,” Owens said.
The Jeep had been travelling down the mountain about five kilometres on Cameron Main, off the Alberni Highway toward Mount Arrowsmith and came across poor road conditions, according to the Port Alberni RCMP.
Alberni Valley Rescue Squad was called out to assist with the rope rescue of the man at the bottom of the ravine as well as the two other injured people who remained with the vehicle. The first two were lifted via basket stretcher to waiting BC Ambulance personnel, and one person was harnessed and brought up to the road that way, Owens said.
A handmade wooden cross has since been erected on the side of the road where the Jeep went over the edge.
Emergency crews were at the scene until nearly 4 a.m., Owens said. Investigators from the Vancouver Island Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service attended the scene. RCMP said the driver of the Jeep is cooperating with the investigation, and alcohol is not a factor in the accident.
The BC Coroners Service is also in the early stages of its own investigation into the incident. The Coroners Service investigates all sudden, unexpected or unnatural deaths in the province to determine who died, how, where, when and by what means.