by Mark Brett, Black Press
The family of a 25-year-old Abbotsford man has received a measure of closure following the recovery of his body from Okanagan Lake on Oct. 10.
According to emergency officials, Dominic Cox had been kneeling on the bow of a motorboat when he fell off and was struck by the vessel on the evening of Sept. 11.
He was one of seven people on board who were returning to Penticton Marina after several hours of wakeboarding.
Police said Cox was not wearing a lifejacket at the time and initially the others on the boat did not realize he had fallen in the water.
The recovery came just two days before a memorial service at Creekside Centre in Abbotsford for Cox, who is survived by his wife, two-year-old son and other family members.
The Penticton RCMP and the Penticton Fire Department initially responded to the call. However, their efforts to find him were unsuccessful and the matter was turned over to search and rescue crews from Penticton and Vernon.
An intensive six-day search by the two agencies, involving about 500 volunteer hours, failed to turn up any sign of Cox.
Last week, a team from the Idaho-based Ralston and Associates, using side-scan sonar equipment, located what appeared to be a body on the lake bottom in about 90 metres of water, too deep for RCMP divers to make an attempt.
Using a remote-operated underwater vehicle, the body was brought to the surface and recovered by Penticton Search and Rescue (SAR) members.
Barb McLintock of the BC Coroners Service confirmed the successful recovery and the identity of the victim.
The coroners service is currently investigating the incident. McLintock was unable to give a time frame for the report’s completion.
According to Penticton SAR search manager Dale Jorgensen, information received the day before the recovery actually changed the search parameters.
“It turned out the area we had first been told to search was actually a kilometre north of where the body was found, but we are happy he (Cox) was located and that was the end result,” said Jorgensen. “It’s unfortunate, but after a certain point of time, the likelihood of a person being alive slips away, but it certainly is a matter of the closure, particularly for the family, to recover the body.”
According to his obituary, Cox was born in Byron Bay, New South Wales and grew up in Kyogle, Australia. He moved to Abbotsford in 2006, where he met his wife, Kylee.
The couple have a son, Nixon, age 2, and were active members of The Bridge Church.
Cox is described as having an “easygoing and accepting attitude coupled with (a) great sense of humour.”
He was an avid surfer, mountain biker, hockey player, and musician.
Funds are being collected to provide financial support to Cox’s wife and son. Details on how to help are available at The Bridge Church’s website at thebridgeonline.ca/coxfamilyfund.