Commercial fisherman dies on the job in Alberni Inlet

Denise Titian, September 4, 2019

A fisherman's vessel was still docked at Centennial Pier Wednesday after the man drowned across from the harbour early in the morning on Sept. 4. (Eric Plummer photo)

Port Alberni, BC — 

Worksafe BC and several other agencies are investigating after a commercial fisherman in his early 60s drowned during a commercial gillnet fishery opening on Sept. 4 in the Alberni Inlet.

According to reports the lone fisherman was seen going overboard with his gillnet by other commercial fishermen in the area. A rescue attempt was made by the fishermen in the area.

The man was entangled in his net. Rescuers’ efforts were hampered by the weight of the gillnet and its catch. The man was pulled from the water and CPR was administered.

The Port Alberni Fire Department was called at 1 a.m. and assisted with lifesaving efforts but the man did not survive.

According to Dave McCormick of the Port Alberni Port Authority, the incident occurred between the Port Authority terminals and Hohm Island, which is within view of the city’s Harbour Quay waterfront.

Mike Carter of PAPA was contacted at 1:35 a.m. by Search and Rescue. They alerted PAPA that they would be bringing the unmanned fishing vessel to berth at their facility. According to Carter, Worksafe BC was at the vessel all day Wednesday.

The B.C. Coroner’s Service and the RCMP are investigating.

Worksafe BC is also investigating the incident, saying, “Our investigation is intended to determine the cause of the incident and any contributing factors, so that similar incidents can be prevented from happening in the future.”

“We at PAPA extend our deepest sympathy; our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased’s family and friends,” said Dave McCormick. He went on to say that those who work on the water are a tight-knit community deeply affected by something like this.