Boater dies near Nanaimo

A boater died after falling overboard just north of Nanaimo Sunday.

A boater died after falling overboard just north of Nanaimo Sunday.

Steve Church, a Canadian Coast Guard officer working at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria at the time of the incident, said the centre got a call from a vessel just off Ballenas Island shortly before noon.

The 54-year-old man from Courtenay was attending the tow lines connecting his 13-metre pleasure craft to a smaller vessel when he fell in, said Church.

“He had an inflatable vest on, but he was unconscious and he was face down,” he said. “It sounds like health-wise something happened. It seems like there might have been a heart attack.”

Church said the man’s wife put out a marine distress signal and two civilian vessels responded, as well as a Coast Guard craft out of French Creek.

A volunteer firefighter on one of the civilian vessels jumped in the water, dragged the man to the swim grid and began CPR. When the Coast Guard vessel arrived, members brought a defibrillator, but were unable to revive the man.

The man was brought to Schooner Cove Marina where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Sgt. Darrell Robertson, Oceanside RCMP spokesman, said the family has asked that the man’s name be withheld.

He said police investigated, determined no foul play was involved and turned the investigation over to the B.C. Coroners Service.

“My understanding is she noticed him slip into the water, she tried to assist him and she couldn’t and she put out a mayday call,” said Robertson.

The cause of death will be determined by the B.C. Coroners Service