October 20, 2010 at 3:25 PM
Ambulance service identifies paramedics killed in Island crash
2 Tofino paramedics died when ambulance plunged down a cliff into Kennedy Lake early Tuesday morning
By Cindy E. Harnett, timescolonist.com October 20, 2010 10:38 AM
The B.C. Ambulance Service has identified two paramedics who died Tuesday when their ambulance plunged down a cliff into a Vancouver Island lake.
Jo-ann Fuller and Ivan Polivka of Tofino were killed in the crash.
The two part-time paramedics “were long-serving members of the Ambulance Paramedics of B.C. and the B.C. Ambulance Service, providing many years of life-saving service to their community,” said CUPE Local 873 president John Strohmaier.
They were driving back to their base in Tofino from Port Alberni after dropping a patient at West Coast General Hospital, when the crash happened at Kennedy Lake. They had left the hospital at about 4:30 a.m., and when they failed to arrive back in Tofino by 7:30 a.m., a search began.
Information gathered from cellphones directed police along the winding stretch of Highway 4 cut into the cliff above Kennedy Lake, to a location about 15 kilometres east of the highway junction for Tofino and Ucluelet. Police said the cliff was about 60 metres high.
There, police saw that the ambulance had gone off a cliff into the lake, the Island’s largest and a popular destination for boaters and fishermen. It was resting in water about nine metres deep.
A search of the shoreline turned up no one, so RCMP divers were called in. The bodies were recovered at about 3 p.m. “It’s very tragic,” said Port Alberni Sgt. Kevin Murray.
The B.C. Coroners Service is leading the investigation into the deaths. The RCMP and Worksafe B.C. are also investigating.
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