The body of a 26-year-old Cowichan Lake man was pulled from the Cowichan River, Wednesday, June 15.
After allowing some time to allow family to learn of the incident through the proper channels, the victim's name, Tyler Neal, has been released.
The popular Cowichan Motors mechanic was well-liked in the community for his positive and friendly demeanor.
“Tyler was a fabulous guy. He worked for me for five years — he was a good kid,” Suki Johel, his boss at Cowichan Motors, said.
As reported in a June 16 press release, investigating RCMP believe that Neal entered the water Tuesday evening, in an attempt to retrieve a remote control boat he'd been operating. He is believed to have been alone at that time.
Lake Cowichan RCMP were notified of an unusual circumstance shortly after 8 a.m., Wednesday morning, when a fisherman informed police about an unoccupied vehicle parked at the Cowichan Lake weir a short time earlier, according to an RCMP press release. A short distance from the vehicle, at the water's edge, the man discovered clothing and other personal items.
"Given his observations, the man became concerned enough that he reported, in person, to the local detachment," the press release reads.
"Officers immediately responded to the area, and commenced a visual search of the shoreline and surrounding waters. Further items of a personal nature were located in the vehicle, including an empty box for a remote control boat. The handheld remote was observed in shallow water, a short distance offshore. The remote control boat was later located a short distance from the weir."
Lake Cowichan RCMP were seen on-site a short time later, alongside an RCMP dive team and coroners, who arrived via an RCMP Air Services helicopter. They were able to locate the body a short distance from the weir, approximately 30 feet off-shore, in about 10 feet of water. The body has since been turned over to the BC Coroner Service.
With no indications of foul play, investigators believe this to be a case of accidental drowning. An official cause of death will be determined by the BC Coroner Service in the days to come.
"Members of the Lake Cowichan RCMP extend their condolences to the family and friends of the victim, and will continue to offer the support of Victim Services," the press release reads.
Anyone with information related to this matter is encouraged to contact the Lake Cowichan RCMP at 250-749-6668.
The Gazette covered this story online as it has been developed.
-With notes by the News Leader Pictorial