A logging truck driver plunged from the road into water and died Wednesday near Caycuse. (Google Maps image)

UPDATE: Driver dies when truck plunges off logging road near Caycuse

Fatal incident near Caycuse claims life of man in his 60s

A logging truck driver died after his truck plunged into water beside a road near Caycuse on Wednesday morning.

The man, who the B.C. Coroner’s Service said was in his 60s, was under contract to Kaatza Logging, a contractor for TimberWest, working near Honeymoon Bay operations.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, the truck left the road approximately two kilometres past Nixon River Bridge, which is three kilometres east of Caycuse. It went into standing water beside the road and became submerged.

“We express our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues affected by this tragic accident,” TimberWest President and CEO Jeff Zweig said on Wednesday afternoon. “A fatality within our forest community deeply impacts all of us. We are working closely with the RCMP, WorkSafe and our contractor on the investigation.”

According to a comment on the Lake Cowichan Gazette’s Facebook page, work was shut down following the death.

“It was a sad day on the rigging when we got the call to stop logging and shut ‘er down for the day,” Raymond Monk wrote. “Without a word said, we knew something was wrong. We don’t get shut down like that for any other reason.”

On the Cowichan Valley Citizen’s Facebook page, logging truck driver Doug Liske wrote, “My heart goes out to his family, co-workers and friends. I’m going to miss you, my friend, and every time I get in that seat your memory will be right there riding along with me.”

WorkSafeBC spokesperson Trish Knight Chernecki said that her agency had been contacted by TimberWest at 7:50 a.m. on Wednesday. The incident is believed to have taken place around 4:40 a.m. Knight Chernecki also confirmed that WorkSafeBC is investigating the incident.

None of the agencies connected to the investigation had commented on the state of the road, but the Cowichan Lake area had seen extensive rainfall in the days leading up to the incident. The Truck Loggers Association confirmed that there is a Rainfall Shutdown Criteria at which drivers are not permitted to be on logging roads.

CoCoRaHS (the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network), which is considered reliable by Environment Canada, recorded 28.7 mm of rain on Sunday, 42.4 mm on Monday, 28.4 mm on Tuesday and 103.1 mm on Wednesday at its Lake Cowichan station, for more than 200 mm over a four-day span.

Armel Castellan of Environment Canada noted that November rainfall has been higher than usual.

“In the first half of the month, we’ve already seen close to 70 per cent of the average November precipitation for that area,” he said.

An RCMP dive team joined fire crews at the scene earlier on Wednesday to search for the driver, while heavy equipment was deployed to recover the truck.

“No indications as to how much fuel is on board due to vehicle being submerged, however sheen on water and diesel odour was noted,” read a report from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Fire department has deployed spill pads to address fuel leakage.”

Due to concerns relating to fuel in the water, the First Nations Health Authority, Vancouver Island Health Authority and Lake Cowichan First Nation were all advised of the incident.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

CityWest announces new CEO

Stefan Woloszyn will start Aug. 17 to head up Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Terrace and Smithers region

CityWest announces new CEO

Stefan Woloszyn will start Aug. 17 to head up Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Terrace and Smithers region

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Most Read