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B.C. watchdog deems fatal crash on Okanagan Lake ‘very unfortunate accident’

A Seadoo accident in Summerland last summer involved off-duty officer and friend
Paramedics and RCMP respond to a call regarding a Seadoo crash on Aug. 5, 2021. One man was transported to hospital where he died of his injuries. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

The Independent Investigations Office has cleared an off-duty RCMP officer involved in a fatal Seadoo crash in 2021 and, deeming it a “very unfortunate accident.”

The off-duty officer and his son were out riding a Seadoo they had rented along with a friend on another Seadoo on Aug. 5, 2021.

At 11:12 a.m. the officer called 911 to report that the two Seadoos had collided. Despite getting the friend to shore and getting him to the hospital where he underwent surgery, he died due to the injuries he suffered.

The IIO report took into account testimony and evidence from the scene including the Seadoo’s onboard computers to complete their investigation. The IIO report also noted that no sign of intoxication of any of the involved individuals had been found by either the rental staff or the responding officers.

A written statement from the off-duty officer, as well as his initial account provided to the responding officers at the scene, claimed that the friend had been riding ahead of the off-duty officer when he abruptly cut in front of the other Seadoo which lead to the collision.

READ MORE: Police watchdog investigating fatal Sea-Doo crash on Okanagan Lake involving off-duty Mountie

The damage to the Seadoo was in line with the account, and the data indicated that the friend’s Seadoo had experienced a sudden rapid deceleration prior to the impact which could have been caused by a sudden sharp turn.

The IIO report concluded with noting that an overtaking vessel must give way to another vessel approaching on the starboard bow and that it was the officers duty to avoid his friend’s craft.

“Practically, though, it appears that he in fact tried to do so, but with no ability to brake and little space to manoeuvre, was unable to,” reads the report. “There is no reason to conclude that there is any negligence or improper operation was invovled, and no fault or blame can be attached to [the officer] for what was, in fact, simply a very unfortunate accident.”

As a result of the report there were no reasonable grounds were found for an offence being committed and no charges being filed.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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