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Intoxication, ill-fitting life jackets factors in Kal Lake drownings

Two Vernon men drowned in Kalamalka Lake after their boat capsized in a violent storm.
February 17, 2014 - 9:47 AM

VERNON - Ill-fitting life jackets and moderate intoxication were factors in the deaths of two men caught in a tempest last spring.

A B.C. coroner has found that Albert James Castanelli, 47, and Frederick Basil Marshall, 50, both died of asphyxia due to drowning after their 12 foot aluminum McCullock fishing boat capsized in Kalamalka Lake near Cosens Bay May 21, 2013.

The men were attempting to return home after camping several nights in a location accessible only by boat. A friend, and the owner of the boat, was to meet them back in Vernon that day. Around 2:30 p.m., Marshall texted the friend to say they couldn’t set out right away due to heavy rain and lighting.

Not quite an hour later, they set out. There had been a slight lull in the storm and they thought they could make it. When the storm picked up again, Marshall texted that they might have missed their window. Eventually, he stopped texting back.

The next morning, a walker noticed a dead dog and some camping gear floating in the water. RCMP and Search and Rescue found the bodies of Marshall and Castanelli soon after.

Coroner Margaret Janzen said the small boat would have been heavily loaded and low in the water, making it handle poorly and putting it at risk of capsizing. Toxicology revealed both men were moderately intoxicated.

“Both Mr. Castanelli and Mr. Marshall were wearing life jackets but they were too large and ill-fitted to be effective,” Janzen said.

She listed severe weather, failure to wear a properly fitting personal flotation device and moderate intoxication with alcohol as contributing factors and made no recommendations.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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