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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: Most take on healthcare to save lives, not get more money

Reader disturbed by call local person’s call for hazard pay during COVID

LETTER: Different view questions mandated social distancing

Look at the science behind herd immunity versus current approach to curtailing COVID

LETTER: Verbal attack on foreign workers disturbing

Racist and derogatory comments on social media disheartening and disappointing to Maple Ridge native

LETTER: How about a fashion contest for COVID face gear

Not trying to make light of the pandemic, but how about a community competition, no age limit

ON THE PAGE: FVRL Express launches Monday

It’s as easy as click, pick, and go at Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows libraries starting next week

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Police watchdog investigating death of man in Delta

Independent Investigations Office asking for witnesses to May 29 incident at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

Most Read