Volunteer firefighter killed in accident on Cowichan River
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Tuesday, July 31, 2018 1:15PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 31, 2018 6:28PM PDT
A volunteer firefighter has been identified online as the victim of a fatal accident while floating down the Cowichan River over the weekend.
A GoFundMe campaign launched Monday identifies the deceased as Tony Jackson, a firefighter with the Sahtlam Volunteer Fire Rescue Department.
The department says Jackson worked with them for seven years and had recently resigned due to location issues, but planned on rejoining the crew.
The campaign's write-up describes Jackson as "a dedicated father and husband and a true friend to all who had the pleasure to meet him."
It says Jackson lost his life in an accident on the Cowichan River, something that came as a surprise to those who knew him.
"Tony Jackson lived in Sahtlam, grew up on that river. Knew every trail on that river and everything," said Capt. Jim Hart of the Sahtlam Volunteer Fire Department.
At some point, he broke off from a group tubing down the river and that's when he was last seen.
"Tony decided that he was going to go a different way, so he went off on his own," said Sahtlam Fire Chief Randy Busch.
Duncan RCMP say family members contacted them Sunday evening to report a missing male.
A Cowichan Search and Rescue team was activated and on Monday morning, it found a man's body at the edge of the river near Indian Road.
RCMP and the BC Coroner's Service confirm they're investigating the death of a man in his early 40s, but have not confirmed his identity or cause of death.
The Cowichan River has a reputation for fun and leisure, but last year one rocky section of the river claimed the life of a Duncan woman.
The woman reportedly floated past the "pull out" zone near Horseshoe Bend and Marie Canyon, entering an area of rough currents, and drowned.
While it's unclear exactly what led to Jackson's death, colleagues at the fire department say it's a huge loss for the community.
"Tony would take two dollars out of his pocket and give it to you and he wouldn't have the two dollars, that's the kind of guy he was," said Hart.
Fire officials are reminding anyone who floats down the Cowichan River to stay aware of their surroundings and never to go alone