by Wendy Fraser
Bridge River Lillooet News
Summer is off to a tragic start in Lillooet after two people died last week in separate incidents.
Lillooet RCMP and the B.C. Coroners Service are continuing their investigation into a July 3 accident on Hwy 40, which took the life of longtime Lillooet resident Donald Yaremchuk. Read more about this on p. 3.
Because his next-of-kin have not been notified, police are withholding the name of a 72-year-old man from Cache Creek who drowned in Seton Lake around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 6.
Eyewitnesses saw the drowning victim go into the water, walking into the cold lake until the water was up to his head. “He dove in and there were no obvious signs of distress,” Lillooet RCMP Sgt. Darrell Robinson told the News.
He said it was a few minutes before anyone noticed the unaccompanied man had not surfaced.
“There was initially some trouble getting to his body, but a couple husky young guys brought him to the surface,” said Robinson. “I’m told people on the scene did try to resuscitate him. An off-duty member of the Lillooet Fire Department was there and he performed CPR immediately.”
Robinson said an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of the man’s death. He said the victim drowned in three to four metres of water.
Police initially had trouble identifying the man because he had no ID on him and they couldn’t find his vehicle.
“We waited until the beach closed and until everyone left and there was still no vehicle at the beach, so we had to keep looking,” said the sergeant. He said an officer searching the area located the man’s vehicle at the monks’ retreat above Seton Lake and was able to make a positive ID at that time.
The beach was crowded with swimmers and families enjoying the sunny summer weather. Sgt. Robinson said the incident was “traumatic for the people who were there. We offered the help of Victims Services to people who were on the scene and upset.”