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

Westshore Wolves nip Peninsula Panther to tie playoff series

The Cats resume VIJHL playoffs against the Wolves Friday in North Saanich

First arrests made at BC Legislature after demonstrators spray chalk on property

Legislature security arrested two people, allegedly for mischief

Improvements to Reay Creek Dam could end up raising Sidney’s costs

Sidney and Ottawa are still discussing ways to coordinate remediation

West Shore RCMP busts alleged drug dealer operating out of View Royal apartment

Officers found cocaine, xanax, magic mushrooms and more

Rummage sale returns to Oak Bay’s Monterey for leap year Saturday

Early dropoffs have rummage sale volunteers busy sorting

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

RCMP, hereditary chiefs reach deal to end police patrols of Wet’suwet’en lands

Withdrawal opens door for talks today between hereditary chiefs, province and federal gov

Should you shave your beard to stop COVID-19? The U.S. CDC has a guide

Facial hair could be a big no-no if COVID-19 reaches pandemic status

Canada’s 13th coronavirus case confirmed as husband of 12th patient

More than 81,000 cases of COVID-19 have occurred since the virus emerged in China

Shuswap boy wins hockey stick from NHL hero with rock, paper, scissors

Chase’s Payton Koch’s exchange with Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala caught on camera

Surrey will replace its RCMP force with municipal police, province confirms

City of Surrey has been authorized to set up its own city police force

UPDATE: Son, 5, dies in hospital after crash that killed dad, older son on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Most Read