Friend says man found dead in Powell River was killed by bear

Friend says man found dead in Powell River was killed by bear

Warning: Details in this story may be upsetting to some readers.

On Saturday, Dave Sutton was showing CHEK News where his friend Pete Foster’s camp was across the water from Arbutus Avenue in the old Townsite area of Powell River.

“His camp was right over there under the trees, right under the power lines,” said Sutton.

He’d known Foster since they were six years old, and now believes his friend died a tragic death at his camp in the woods earlier this week.

Story continues below

Pete Foster is pictured. (Submitted)

He suspects Foster was mauled to death by a black bear. The remains of a person were found scattered in the area of the Switchback Trail this week.

“You get woken up like that and it’s the worst way to go and I couldn’t imagine a worst way, and I know I’d fight for every minute that I could,” Sutton said.

“The last time I heard from him was about a week before this incident and when I saw him he was going back to his camp and I told him be careful and he said, ‘Oh no problem I got my crossbow and I’ll be fine,’ and I never saw him since then.”

He says he was concerned for Foster because the homeless man who lived in the bush had had two recent encounters with an aggressive bear waking him up at night in his tent.

On Friday, the RCMP said it didn’t think the man’s death was the result of a bear attack, but the BC Conservation Officer Service says it’s still investigating “if an animal attack may have been involved in this incident,” adding that a black bear was put down by conservation officers the day prior to the remains being found.

COS said the bear was put down after eight separate public safety incidents were reported to the RCMP and COS in the immediate area, with “the bear behaviour considered by the COS to be extremely aggressive and possibly predatory.”

The COS says a necropsy of the bear was performed, and results are pending.

Meanwhile, Powell River Mayor Ron Woznow says the Switchback Trail will remain closed until Wednesday.

“And hopefully at that time there will be some additional information,” Woznow said. “It was uncertain as to what caused the death but in order to ensure the safety of the citizens they removed the bear.”

SEE ALSO: French Beach Park reopens days after bear rips tents, breaks into vehicles

The man’s death and reports of other close encounters with aggressive bears in the same area in recent weeks is the focus of concern on social media and in the community.

“It’s really unheard of. There’s so much going on, they’re coming so low now and to charge someone, that’s scary,” said resident Debbie Manyk.

Dave Sutton says suggestions that his friend might have died before being eaten by the bear are surely wrong.

“There’s no way I believe that,” he said. “Pete was very strong. The guy was a bushman his whole life. He’s lived in the bush, he walks everywhere, he wasn’t sick and yeah I just don’t see it happening that way at all.”

He says he’s concerned for other people in the Wildwood area.

He says Foster was a good man who will be missed by many in Powell River and plans for a celebration of life next month are being made.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!