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

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.

Just Posted

Marine biologist Rick Harbo pulls a lid from the Ladysmith harbour, which he uses to monitor the presence of native and non-native species in the Ladysmith harbour. (Cole Schisler photo)
Unidentified sponge may be the latest marine species invading Ladysmith Harbour

Marine biologist finding dozens of alien species in warm-water harbour, none of them threatening

More and more graffiti has appeared in Ladysmith’s downtown core during the pandemic. (Cole Schisler photo)
Council creates rebate program to encourage graffiti clean up

Property owners can receive up to $50 to help fund graffiti removal

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens between Port Alberni and Tofino

Multi-vehicle accident temporarily closed highway in both directions

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read