A 33-year-old woman died following a motor vehicle incident along Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and Terrace on Jan. 31, the RCMP released in a news statement late on Feb. 1.
Rachel Chan, a Prince Rupert resident and co-business owner of a pet grooming salon, Doggy Hotel & Spa, has been identified by family and friends as the woman who died.
“With so many dog owners in town there are many people who have met Rachel through her business and appreciate how amazing she was with their fur babies. She was a gentle, kind, graceful, motivated and smart woman who loved her work and her clients,” Jason Hoang, her brother-in-law told The Northern View.
“Prince Rupert lost a bright light in the community with her passing,” he said.
Prince Rupert RCMP received a call from a passerby at around 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning, reporting tire tracks leading into the Skeena River near the Khyex River, Const. Gabriel Gravel, media relations officer for the detachment, stated.
Additional calls were received as first responders were en route with one caller reporting he could see the vehicle had gone off the road into the river.
This caller and his passenger, as well as the first officer to arrive on scene, managed to pull the vehicle out of the water and extract the sole occupant, a 33-year-old woman,” Gravel said.
Police performed life-saving techniques until paramedics arrived and continued emergency care.
Chan was transported to Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, where emergency procedures were continued for an extended period of time, the RCMP report. However, the woman did not survive.
“The brave actions of the first people on scene, as well as the hard work from the paramedics, the firefighters and the medical personnel, ensured that everything was done to attempt to save the young woman’s life,” Gravel said.
“We would like to remind the public to use extreme caution when driving in winter conditions. Make sure you have a reliable vehicle equipped with proper winter tires, pay attention to the road and don’t go out if you are not comfortable with the conditions.”
As a result of the recovery operation and the investigation, the highway was closed to traffic in both directions for a few hours. It was re-opened at approximately 2 p.m.
RCMP stated nothing suspicious was found as a result of the investigation. The cause of the incident was determined to be a combination of bad weather and road conditions at the time.
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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