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Nanaimo kayaker who drowned has been identified

May 18 2012

The 26-year-old Nanaimo kayaker killed in a tragic accident on Cameron River in Port Alberni Tuesday night has been identified.

Port Alberni RCMP have identified the kayaker as Mackenzie Schafers.

Schafers drowned Tuesday night after his kayak tipped and he became pinned under a log, said Port Alberni Cpl. Jen Allan.

The man’s 37-year-old best friend and roommate, also from Nanaimo, told police he attempted to rescue and then resuscitate the victim, but was unsuccessful.

“Both men were experienced kayakers, having spent countless hours on the water,” Allan said, Wednesday. The men had set out from Nanaimo in the late afternoon and put their kayaks in at a common point on Cameron River.

The friend hiked several kilometres from the river to get cellphone reception to call police at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Port Alberni RCMP, the Cherry Creek fire department, the Alberni Valley search and rescue, B.C. Ambulance and the coroner responded.

However, when emergency personnel arrived at the end of the 12-kilometre Cameron Main logging road there was a 90-metre descent to the water.

Emergency personnel gathered again at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, police said. The body was retrieved at 10:30 a.m.