Skip to content

Excavator tumbles into Bulkley River killing operator

The Workers Compensation Board is investigating the cause of the incident
Fort Telkwa was the site of a fatal accident August 4. (Deb Meissner photo)

A long-time resident of Telkwa is dead after an excavator he was operating tumbled off the banks above the Bulkley River, at Fort Telkwa and fell into the river, trapping the operator inside.

Emergency services were called, but efforts to free the man failed.

RCMP, BV Search and Rescue (BVSAR), Workers Compensation Board (WCB), the Coroners Service, and local towing operators were called to attend the scene to pull the victim and excavator out of the river.

On August 5, it took another excavator to hold the tow truck on the bank of the cliff, while rescue personnel with specialized equipment, dispatched from Terrace overnight, worked to extricate the equipment and victim from the river below.

Initial attempts to rescue the man by witnesses, were unsuccessful due to the high river flow holding the door of the excavator closed.

It was during these efforts, BVSAR was tasked to respond by the Smithers RCMP detachment to help at the scene.

“I can confirm BVSAR attended a recent incident, with the RCMP, to initially initiate a rescue attempt that turned into a recovery operation,” said search manager, Michael William.

READ MORE: Bulkley Valley Search and Rescue fundraising after vital equipment was stolen

Smithers RCMP are expected to issue a news release soon with further details of the incident.

WCB has taken over the investigation as to how the accident occurred at the work site.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Telkwa sign. (Josh Casey photo)