Body of former Sahtlam volunteer firefighter found after Cowichan River tubing accident


WATCH:  A longtime Cowichan Valley volunteer firefighter has been killed in an accident on the Cowichan River.  Tony Jackson died late Sunday.  The coroner is investigating the incident, while friends, family and others remember a husband and father who believed in giving back to his community. Mary Griffin reports.

The body of a former Sahtlam volunteer firefighter was found in the Cowichan River by search and rescue crews on Monday following a tubing accident.

The body has not been identified by officials but a GoFundMe campaign has been created for the family of Tony Jackson, a former Sahtlam fire department member.

The campaign was made by Amanda Clarke Richardson who said Jackson died during an accident on the Cowichan River.

Friends have confirmed it was a tubing accident that happened on Sunday night when Jackson had been tubing with friends and family.

Jim Hart, a captain with the Sahtlam fire department, said at one point Jackson had decided to go out on his own when something went wrong.

“Cowichan River has taken many lives in the last few years. It’s very dangerous. There is a lot of people who go down that river tubing,” Hart said.

He added that it’s important to be cautious on the water.

“Watch yourself on that river. It changes all the time. You never know what’s going to happen,” Hart said.

“And just be aware, and don’t go down it alone.”

Sahtlam Fire Chief Randy Busch said Jackson was born and raised in Sahtlam, and he knew every bend and eddy in the river.

“These guys have been on the river, they grew up here. They’ve been on the river forever,” Busch said.

Richardson described Jackson as a “great man” on the GoFundMe page.

“Tony was always there for us and was a key volunteer for Jeepapalooza, as well as an amazing fireman,” she wrote.

Jackson leaves behind his wife Belinda and a daughter.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP spokesperson Const. Pam Bolton confirmed that a body was found early in the morning on July 30 in the Cowichan River off Indian Road. Cowichan SAR discovered the body. They were called out to the area after family reported a missing person to police the night before.

RCMP are now assisting the BC Coroners Service with the sudden death investigation.

BC Coroners Service spokesperson Andy Watson said they were in the early stages of an investigation involving the death of a man in his early 40s on the Cowichan River in the evening on July 29. They will not be releasing a name. No other information about the investigation has been released.

This is the first death that has been reported on the Cowichan River this year.

In July of last year, a Duncan woman in her early 50s drowned while tubing in the river.

Tony Jackson (right) passed away on July 29. He is pictured here with his wife Belinda. (Submitted).

Tony Jackson (right) passed away on July 29. He is pictured here with his wife Belinda. (GoFundMe).

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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