Jeff Alexander of Williams Lake has been identified as the man missing near Bella Bella after his fishing guide boat began to take on water and capsized, Friday Aug. 25. Photo submitted

‘Jeff was doing what he loved’: B.C. man presumed drowned in Bella Bella boat accident

Five people on board were rescued, the captain has not been seen since

The family of a well-known hockey coach, forester and fishing guide from Williams Lake presumed drowned in a boating incident Friday says they are still searching for answers to exactly what happened out on the water.

“We are in shock. We cannot believe this happened,” Nyree Alexander said of the fact her husband Jeff Alexander is missing. Jeff was on his fishing charter boat near Bella Bella when it began to take on water and capsized.

READ MORE: Williams Lake man identified as missing person off Bella Bella coast

“Jeff was doing what he loved,” Nyree told the Williams Lake Tribune on Tuesday.

“He was a fantastic captain and made sure everyone else on the boat was safe. He was a true hero to the very end. Our family is struggling to understand why, but the outpouring of love and support from our family, friends, church and co-workers and this fabulous community is overwhelming.”

She said the family is grateful for all the kind words, thoughts and prayers.

Paul Reynolds, search mission co-ordinator with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Victoria stationed in Bella Bella said Jeff sent out a mayday.

“He was just coming out of Bella Bella and they were on their way to Bella Coola to drop off some guests and pick up the next group,” Reynolds said.

“He was going down Fisher Channel and making the corner into Burke Channel. It was a little choppy, not overly rough, but I guess some bad set of circumstances caused that boat to fill up with water and roll over. It must have happened fairly quickly.”

There was a family of five guests on the 26-foot Bayliner Trophy at the time who managed to self-rescue and swam to shore.

The Kennicott, Alaska State Ferry, showed up 10 minutes after the mayday call and received the family who had been picked up by search and rescue.

Reynolds said Jeff was not wearing a life jacket.

“It was quite close to shore and he was hanging onto a seat cushion and decided to swim,” he added.

Joint rescue crews remained on site searching until 10 p.m. Friday night, with aid from the Canadian Coast Guard ship the Captain Goddard and a fixed-wing plane.

Reynolds said the JRCC has responded to 1,848 marine and air cases this year so far and averages more than 3,000 a year.

Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, North District RCMP media relations, said Tuesday that the investigation is being turned over to the Transport Safety Board.

The underwater recovery team is scheduled to be in Bella Bella on Thursday, weather permitting, for the search.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Can protected bike lanes get more kids cycling to school in Abbotsford?

Planners hope safer bike facilities can encourage pint-sized commuters to hit the road on two wheels

Man pepper-sprayed and arrested near railroad tracks in Abbotsford

Police and fire crews called to incident at Marshall and Riverside

MEI three-peats as Spartan Cup champions

Senior boys finish first, junior boys place second at Langley event

UPDATE: Highway now open after several hour closure at Herrling Island

Westbound traffic is stopped, and some cars have been seen driving the wrong way on the highway

Rainbow crosswalk plan gets council support in Hope

Council writing letter of support to community group for crosswalk project

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

‘We still did not get answers’: Vancouver parents demand expulsion after students’ racist video

‘We were unable to get confirmation from the VSB, but he hasn’t returned as of yet,’ says Marie Tate

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

‘What goes up will come down’: Gas prices spike in Metro Vancouver

Petroleum analyst Dan McTeague says prices will fall Thursday

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Most Read