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Tolko boom boats won't run until investigation says they're safe

Two fully-loaded barges are moored in front of the scene where a Tolko boat sank Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, killing employee Ivor Lundin.
February 03, 2017 - 1:30 PM

KELOWNA – Tolko's saw mill operation has ceased all marine operations while the Transportation Safety Board continues its investigation into why one of their boom boats sank this week. A longtime employee died in the incident.

Union of Steel Workers local 423 president Pat McGregor says the mill resumed limited operations today, Feb. 3, three days after the body of Ivor Lundin was found inside the cab of a boat used to load logs onto a lift.

“The mill started up today on a very slow pace. Had crew meetings to make sure everybody is in right frame of mind,” he says. “Until they figure out what happened, the water part… will not be running.”

Lundin, a Tolko employee for more than 20 years, had been working on a company boat shortly before 9:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 30 when coworkers called 911.

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue used another Tolko vessel to drop an underwater camera into the lake and confirmed the operator was still inside the boat, RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said in a release the day after the accident.

McGregor says RCMP have now concluded their initial investigation and have handed the scene over to a pair of TSB investigators who arrived Wednesday, Feb. 1. TSB spokesperson Mohan Raman says they will likely leave Kelowna tonight or tomorrow and Worksafe B.C. will take over from there.

Once Worksafe’s investigation is concluded, he says, Tolko will begin their own internal investigation.

“Tolko’s been pretty good about keeping us in the loop,” he says. “I’m hoping that continues.”

Raman says the boat was raised by crane Thursday evening without incident and is being stored in Tolko’s maintenance yard.

Worksafe B.C. spokesperson Trish Knight Chernecki says they have only filed two inspection reports against Tolko since 2013 but neither were boat or marine related.

Records prior to 2013 have not been made available but a former operator says the boats were not safe when he quit Tolko in 2006.

Ivor Lundin was a longtime employee of Tolko Industries in Kelowna before he died Monday, Jan. 30, 2017.
Ivor Lundin was a longtime employee of Tolko Industries in Kelowna before he died Monday, Jan. 30, 2017.
Image Credit: Facebook

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