One of the two men who died when a sport-fishing vessel sank off the west coast of Vancouver Island is a Calgary father, according to a family friend.
Heather Kachowski Harke said one of the men who died was Alvin Beckley, a husband to his wife, Jacqui, and father of three from Calgary. She said he was an apprentice electrician who was working in B.C. for several months.
A photo of Alvin Beckley on a GoFundMe page. A family friend has identified Beckley as one of two people who died when a sport-fishing vessel sank off the west coast of Vancouver Island on Sunday. CREDIT: https://杭州夜生活gofundme杭州桑拿/BeckleyFamily
A photo of Alvin Beckley on a GoFundMe page. A family friend has identified Beckley as one of two people who died when a sport-fishing vessel sank off the west coast of Vancouver Island on Sunday.
Beckley’s brother-in-law says Alvin wasn’t actually a big fan of fishing but likely didn’t want to pass up a chance to join his co-workers for a day on the ocean.
“I don’t know that he necessarily fished often but he was in Tofino and you definitely want to do that when you’re there,” Mike Provost said on Wednesday.
“He was in Tofino so you’ve got to get out and catch some big fish. They had Sunday off and they decided to go fishing as a group to go and enjoy themselves.”
Beckley was originally from Sierra Leone, but grew up in Alberta with his parents.
Watch below: Two fathers died when the boat they were fishing on went down near Tofino. Between the two fathers, they leave behind five children. Nancy Hixt filed this report on May 2, 2017.
“It’s been tough for sure. He’s got three little girls and it’s been a lot of tears and sadness, but also a lot of good fond memories,” Provost said. “It’s always good to reflect on the good times.
“He would always find a funny perspective and kind of crack a lot of jokes. It was always happy times with him. He was a loving father and a great husband.”
According to Provost, Beckley was diagnosed with diabetes a number of years ago and complications with the disease had kept him from being steadily employed over the last few years.
Harke has started a GoFundMe page for Beckley’s family, saying, “the tragic accident has left their family understandably devastated and uncertain of their financial future as Alvin was their sole provider.”
“It’s for the girls especially,” Provost said. “Alvin having diabetes and (being) the primary provider for the family … they had been having some struggles over the past little while in relation to that. They were just kind of getting back on their feet. The girls will need a lot of support.”
The second victim has been identified by family as Michael Cutler, who was born and raised in Halifax, but stayed in Lethbridge while working out west.
Cutler’s fundraising page requests help to bring his body back to the east coast.
“Mike was a loving friend, musician and one hell of an electrician. Although Mike is no longer with us, I guarantee nobody will forget his loving smile, constant jabs and sarcasm,” the page reads.
“Mike left behind two boys, Morgan (17) and Mackenzie (15) who need our support now more than ever.”
Beckley and Cutler died when a boat with five people on board took on water and overturned.
The RCMP have not confirmed the identities of the men who died or where they are from.
While Harke said Beckley was from Calgary, Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne said both of the victims were from Edmonton.
Staff Sgt. Annie Linteau said Tofino RCMP are investigating the capsizing of the 8.4-metre vessel Sunday in waters northwest of Bartlett Island near Tofino, a popular Vancouver Island tourist destination.
“We can confirm right now there were five men on board the vessel when it took on water and capsized,” she said. “Other sports vessels in the area rendered assistance in rescuing the people in the water. The Canadian Coast Guard personnel provided life-saving measures.”
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is now also investigating.
READ MORE: TSB sends investigators to scene of boat sinking
“We don’t have a lot of answers at this current time. There are still investigations going on,” Provost said.
“Eventually we will get to speak with the surviving members. I’m sure it was extremely tough for everybody involved in that whole scenario. We will get some more answers and clarity in the coming days for sure.”
The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria said it received a distress call from someone on the boat at about 1:20 p.m. on Sunday.
Watch below: Did weather play a role in Sunday fishing boat accident near Tofino?
Coast guard rescue boats, a Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter and a plane from Canadian Forces Base Comox were all dispatched to look for those who were thrown into the water, and a broadcast was put out asking marine vessels in the area to help in the search, Sub-Lt. Melissa Kia said Sunday.
Two commercial float planes also responded to the call for help and one of them spotted the people in the water and directed rescuers to the location, she said.
Osborne said the incident has shaken the community of about 1,800 residents.
“Everybody’s understandably concerned and a bit shaken up,” she said. “Of course we’re a very small and tight-knit community and news travels really fast. There’s a lot of concern for the friends and families of the victims and survivors.”
Osborne said the fish boat incident happened in an area where the whale watching vessel Leviathan II capsized in October 2015, resulting in six deaths when 27 people were dumped into the water.
The TSB has yet to complete its investigation into the cause of the Leviathan II incident, but investigators said shortly after the tragedy that passengers had been standing on one side of the top deck when a wave hit the opposite side of the vessel.
“It is fairly close to where the Leviathan II went down,” said Osborne. “It’s the outside of Clayoquot Sound facing the open ocean. It’s in an area where a lot of whale watching guides and fishing guides are very familiar with.”
Linteau said the RCMP is continuing its investigation into the cause of accident.
-With files from