The WorkSafeBC report into a fatal log booming accident has been released, and although no body was ever found, the report suggests that boom man Tyler Smith was likely not wearing a life jacket and possibly trying to light a cigarette when he fell into the water on Oct. 13, 2011.
Smith was working for Sechelt Creek Contracting Ltd. at their wet- and dry-land log sorting operation near Twin Creeks, about six kilometres north of Langdale, when the accident occurred.
The report states that Smith was last seen travelling in a sidewinder boat used to help secure floating logs for transport at about 9:05 a.m. on Oct. 13. At that time the worker who saw him noted he was wearing a life jacket.
At about 9:35 a.m. another worker was travelling towards the log boom where Smith was supposed to be working, but as he approached, he couldn’t see Smith.
Once on board the sidewinder boat, the worker searched the area for Smith without success.
“Worker one boarded the boom man’s boat and found a black hoodie on the driver’s seat, a backpack on the floor of the boat and a red life jacket zippered around the hatch rail. Worker one also observed a package of Export A cigarettes floating in the water between the boat and the side boom stick,” the report stated.
At 9:40 a.m. the worker called other boom men over to try to find Smith, but the effort was unsuccessful.
Soon RCMP were called and an extensive air, sea and underwater search was conducted. Smith could not be located and was presumed to have drowned.
The report noted that had Smith been wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident, he likely would have been found. It also stated that the water temperature was approximately 11 degrees Celsius at the time of the accident and that “it is likely he experienced cold shock or swimming failure.”
Smith was defined as a new and young worker. He had taken worker safety orientation and training.
He signed off on the training checklist on Sept. 19, 2011.