VERNON, British Columbia – On January 30, at approximately 9:30 p.m., company officials were notified that one of our tugboats had sunk and the operator, Ivor Lundin, was missing. Local authorities including the RCMP, Kelowna Fire Department, BC Ambulance Service, WorkSafe BC and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue attended the scene. At approximately 3:00 a.m., following a search of the area, Mr. Lundin was located by underwater cameras deceased in the tugboat.
Relevant authorities remain on site today and continue to investigate the events leading up to the incident, and Tolko is cooperating. The mill is currently curtailed, and the scene remains secured by the RCMP. The identity of the operator is being withheld as per the RCMP next of kin notification process.
“As a company, we are extremely saddened by this loss of life and our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of the Mr. Lundin during this difficult time,” said Brad Thorlakson, President and CEO. “We want to thank everyone involved in the response and recovery operation for their professionalism and compassion in handling the situation. We also know that the coming days and weeks will be difficult for our Kelowna employees and we will be providing assistance to them during this time.”
Tolko’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) has been notified and service providers will be available on-site and via phone to support crews as they deal with the news and upon return to work once the mill has been cleared to resume operations.