‘He’s gone but we’re not giving up:’ Man who tried to save surfer in Tofino speaks out


WATCH: One of the men who tried to save an unconscious surfer in Tofino spoke exclusively to Chek News about the tragedy. Isabelle Raghem reports. 

One of the men who tried to save an unconscious surfer in Tofino is telling his story.

“His friend said ‘he’s drowning he’s drowning,'” says Vincent Mallaley.

Within minutes of arriving on Long Beach in Tofino, Mallaley says he noticed a group of surfers in distress and a young man unresponsive in the water.

“We noticed that he was unconscious. We started performing CPR in the water,” Mallaley said.

That’s when Mallaley says he and another stranger carried him on a surfboard to shore. Despite efforts, the man did not make it.

“We had a little bit of hope that because the water was coming out of his lungs and everything that maybe we could save him,” he added. “We had to look at each other and say he’s gone but we’re not giving up”

GoFundMe page has identified the victim as Nijin John, a research student at the University of Victoria.

Mallaley says the spot where John was found was rocky.

“The park ranger made me aware that he did have severe trauma to the head, the gash under his left eye near his cheekbone was significant enough to cause a crushed cheekbone, caused damage to his nasal bone,” Mallaley said.

In the last 24-hours, he says he’s received numerous messages on social media from John’s family in India.

“I couldn’t bring them closure but at least give them that little piece of what happened to their son,” Mallaley said.

The GoFundMe page reads: ? He was a beloved son, brother, and a friend. RIP Brother! Hope God gives his family the strength and fortitude to bear this tragic loss. This page is to help fund his funeral expenses.?

More than $18,000 has already been raised. The fundraising goal was $18,000.

Surfers and visitors at Long Beach say the weather and water were calm on Saturday. Surfers familiar with the beach say there is often a riptide near Lovekin Rock where it?s believed the victim got into some kind of trouble.

The BC Coroner?s Service has confirmed the death but specific details about the accident near Tofino have not been released.



Isabelle RaghemIsabelle Raghem

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