UPDATE: Body of man who died at Tolko Mill recovered

Tolko employees spent Tuesday recovering from news that one of their own died while on the job.

  • Jan. 31, 2017 5:00 p.m.
The entrance to the Tolko Mill in downtown Kelowna.

The entrance to the Tolko Mill in downtown Kelowna.



UPDATE: 3:40 p.m.

Kelowna RCMP report that the police underwater team were able to recover the body of a man who died last night in the waters near Tolko Mill.

Social media has identified him as Kelowna’s Ivor Lundin, who was remembered as a kind and competent man.

“Kelowna and West Kelowna RCMP continue to work closely with the BC Coroners Service and WorkSafe BC as they attempt to determine what factors may have led to this tragic incident,” says Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

“Investigators continue to interview witnesses, and begin the planning process for recovering the sunken vessel for examination.”

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UPDATE 3 p.m.

Tolko employees spent Tuesday recovering from news that one of their own died while on the job.

Although police have yet to officially release the name of the man who died in a commercial boat on Okanagan Lake Monday night, Kelowna’s Ivor Lundin was remembered on social media sites as a kind man who was good at his job.

His body was found in the boom-boat he regularly captained, at the bottom of Okangan Lake.

Tolko lost contact with Lundin at around 9:21 p.m. Monday, and Search and Rescue, Kelowna Fire Department, BC Ambulance and RCMP crews were called to the scene.

What started as a rescue mission became a recovery effort shortly thereafter.

“A worker at Tolko Mill in Kelowna was driving a boom boat when the boat sank,” said Scott McCloy with WorkSafe BC.

“We don’t know why, but a search was conducted with the assistance of Search and Rescue and the deceased worker was found in the sunken boat …We are conducting an investigation to determine what happened, why it happened and how it could be prevented from happening again in the future.”

In the meantime, the Kelowna plant has been shut down.

Don Hanson, communications manager at Tolko Industries, said that the mill’s focus is on Lundin’s family and the employees who were suffering from his loss.

“Until the investigation wraps up I can’t say much further on the employee,” said Hanson.

“It’s devastating news for Tolko. We take safety very seriously. We are going to work closely with the authorities on the investigation and find out what happened.”

Hanson also said that the company had yet to decide when it would reopen the Kelowna plant.

Although no indication of what happened Monday has been released, the The BC Federation of Labour was quick to send out a release linking two Okanagan workplace deaths and calling for better government and industry safeguards.

On Friday, a worker at a log sorting facility in Lumby was also killed on the job.

“We extend our condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of the two workers who died on the job,” said Irene Lanzinger, president of the BC Federation of Labour.

“All workers must enjoy the basic right to be safe on the job and to come home safely to their families at the end of their shift. But these two deaths—along with a third involving a Victoria construction worker two weeks ago—are a sign that more needs to be done to protect workers.”

Lanzinger says the BCFED will continue to press the provincial government and Opposition NDP for more stringent laws and rules, more frequent workplace safety inspections, tougher enforcement, more stringent penalties for employers who commit violations, and for greater balance and fairness at the WCB.

The investigation into Lundin’s death is in its early stages, as the scene remains secured by the RCMP at this time.


UPDATE: 2:20 p.m.

Online tributes are pouring in for the man who lost his life in a workplace incident Monday evening.

Ivor Lundin lost his life after the boom boat he was operating sunk at the Kelowna Tolko Mill.

“A worker at Tolko Mill in Kelowna was driving a boom boat when the boat sank,” explained Scott McCloy with WorkSafe BC.

“We don’t know why, but a search was conducted with the assistance of Search and Rescue and the deceased worker was found in the sunken boat.”

The investigation is in its early stages, as the scene remains secured by the RCMP at this time.

“The RCMP are involved, WorkSafeBC is involved and our investigators were dispatched last night. We are conducting an investigation to determine what happened, why it happened and how it could prevented from happening again in the future,” added McCloy.

UPDATE: 10:07 a.m.

Mounties are at Kelowna’s Tolko plant this morning helping recover the body of a boom boat driver who died   Monday night.

“A worker at Tolko Mill in Kelowna was driving was a boom boat when the boat sank,” explained Scott McCloy with WorkSafe BC.

“We don’t know why, but a search was conducted with the assistance of Search and Rescue and the deceased worker was found in the sunken boat.”

Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said RCMP received 911 emergency calls from Tolko Industries employees at 9:21 p.m. Monday, who  said one of their commercial boom boats that had reportedly sunk near Manhattan Point off the east shores of Okanagan Lake.

“RCMP learned that the vessels operator was unaccounted for and quickly called on the Kelowna Fire Department, who attended the scene and conducted an extensive search of the area,” said Cpl. O’Donaghey.

“Central Okanagan Search and Rescue were also called to the scene, and with the assistance of another Tolko Industries vessel, dropped an underwater camera into the lake from above the sunken vessel and managed to confirm that the operator was still inside the vessel.”

The RCMP Southeast District Underwater Recovery Team is expected to attend this scene this morning to recover the body of the individual who is believed to be the vessel operator.

The investigation is in its early stages, as the scene remains secured by the RCMP at this time.

“The RCMP are involved, WorkSafeBC is involved and our investigators were dispatched last night. We are conducting an investigation to determine what happened, why it happened and how it could prevented from happening again in the future,” added McCloy.

UPDATE: 9:50 a.m.

The operator of a Tolko boom boat died Monday night following an incident on Okanagan Lake, according to a representative form WorkSafe BC.

Original story 7 a.m.

Tolko employees have been told that the Kelowna plant is shut down for the day, following reports of a tugboat being sunk in Okanagan Lake near the mill.

The incident, which required the help of  Search and Rescue, Kelowna Fire Department, BC Ambulance and RCMP crews, happened around 10 p.m. Monday night.

It’s yet to be confirmed whether anybody was on the boat, although early, unsubstantiated reports said there was.

Employees of the mill have been stationed around its entrances this morning. Those asked about what happened at the plant have said they can’t offer any information.

Emergency vehicles can be seen lining the dock along the lake inside the Tolko property.

A call to Tolko’s media relations officer has yet to be returned.

RCMP spokesperson, Cpl Jesse O’Donaghey,  said “a release is pending on this incident” although he wasn’t able to offer any further information on what the incident may be.

Kelowna Capital News