Port Alberni RCMP, the BC Coroners Service and WorkSafe BC are investigating a fatality on the water in Alberni Inlet that occurred early Wednesday morning (Sept. 4) during a commercial fishing opening.
Port Alberni Fire Department (PAFD) fire chief Mike Owens confirmed later on Wednesday morning that PAFD had been dispatched at around 1 a.m. to assist with the incident.
“The individual was already out of the water when we were called,” said Owens. “We attempted to resuscitate the individual but were unsuccessful.”
According to Port Alberni RCMP, there were dozens of commercial vessels in the area at the time of the incident, and fishermen on nearby vessels observed a lone fisherman enter the water with the net from his boat. The nearby fishermen immediately responded and attempted to extract the man from the net, which was complicated by the weight of the catch in the net.
He was removed from the water and brought to shore. First aid was given until BC Ambulance and the PAFD were able to deliver emergency support. All efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.
RCMP frontline members, the Coast Guard and WorksSafeBC all attended the scene and are now jointly examining the incident. The vessel involved in the incident is registered in Surrey to the deceased fisherman.
The BC Coroners Service was contacted and is in the early stages of its fact-finding investigation. The Coroners Service investigates all sudden, unexpected and/or unnatural deaths in the province to determine who died, how, where, when and by what means.
Port Alberni General Investigation Section will be leading the investigation, although the incident is not considered suspicious at this time.