KELOWNA, British Columbia (From Eagle Valley News) -- The operator of a Tolko mill tugboat was found dead after the boat sank Monday night.
Police say they received a call from Tolko employees about 9:20 p.m. reporting that one of their commercial tugboats had sunk near Manhattan Point in Kelowna.
RCMP learned that the vessel's operator was unaccounted for and called on the Kelowna Fire Department, which attended the scene and searched the area.
Central Okanagan Search and Rescue was also called. With the assistance of another Tolko vessel, searchers dropped an underwater camera into Okanagan Lake from above the sunken vessel and managed to confirm that the operator was still inside the vessel around 3 a.m.
Shortly before noon on Tuesday, the RCMP's underwater recovery team recovered the body from the sunken vessel, said Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey.
"Kelowna and West Kelowna RCMP continue to work closely with the BC Coroners Service and WorkSafeBC as they attempt to determine what factors may have led to this tragic incident," he said. "Investigators continue to interview witnesses and begin the planning process for recovering the sunken vessel for examination."
The name of the tug operator has not been officially released, but friends on social media have identified him as Ivor Lundin.
"As a company, we are extremely saddened by this loss of life, and our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of the deceased during this difficult time," said Brad Thorlakson, president and CEO of Tolko. "We also know that the coming days and weeks will be difficult for our Kelowna employees, and we will be providing assistance to them during this time."
Tolko was closed on Tuesday and will remain closed pending investigations, said Don Hanson, Tolko spokesperson.
"We don't have word at this point when it will open," he said.
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