B.C. forestry company says worker has died

PORT MCNEILL, B.C. -- A man is dead following what a forestry company is calling a "tragic accident" at one of its operations on northern Vancouver Island.

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TimberWest Forest Corp. spokeswoman Monica Bailey said an equipment operator was killed Friday afternoon at the company's Bonanza Lake site near Port McNeill.

Bailey would not provide the cause of death, saying only the man was moving his equipment at the time.

"Forest communities tend to be very small and people who work in forestry tend to know one another quite well," she said.

"It's a heartbreaking moment for all community members on the Island and for forestry in general."

The man was employed by one of TimberWest's contractors.

In a statement, TimberWest CEO Jeff Zweig described the event a tragic accident.

"We express our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues touched by this," Zweig said. "Our industry is tightly knit and the pain from this loss is felt throughout."

The company will suspend operations across the province Monday out of respect for those involved in the incident, Bailey said.

TimberWest would not confirm it would be launching its own investigation, but Bailey said the company would work with employees and contractors to prevent future deaths.

WorkSafeBC and the RCMP are investigating the death.

TimberWest calls itself Western Canada's largest private timberland company.


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