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Police report: Man drowns in Comox; Saanich cougar sighting

Jul 17 2012

A 66-year-old Lower Mainland man is dead after swimming in a designated recreational area in Comox Lake Monday night.

The man was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead. His name has been withheld by police, pending notification of his next of kin.

Comox Valley RCMP responded to reports of a possible drowning on Comox Lake just before 6:30 p.m Monday.

A witnesss reported seeing a man floating face down in the water near the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association, better known by locals as the rod and gun club.

The witness then saw the body sink below the surface, said Comox RCMP Cst. Don Sinclair. “The bystander swam down and got him,” Sinclair said. “He had to go to bottom and get him and bring him out.”

Once the victim was brought to shore, CPR was started but the swimmer could not be revived.

Foul play is not suspected, police said. The incident is under investigation by the BC Coroners office. If the coroners service finds anything suspicious, an autopsy will be performed.

Police do not know why the man was on Vancouver Island and were not aware Tuesday of him having friends or family in the area. Police continue to contact the man’s family on the Lower Mainland.

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A cougar was seen in Saanich Monday night and police suspect its the same big cat spotted in the vicinity since late June.

Residents in the area of Holland Avenue and Hastings Street reported spotting a cougar striding down the middle of the residential street at about 7 p.m. last night. The police report does not say which street specifically.

Saanich police arrived but didnt see the cougar. Conservation officers were contacted.

Based on its description and whereabouts police suspect it might be the same animal seen on the grounds of the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre on June 26 and since.

“There must be one somewhere in that valley area,” said Saanich Sgt. Ron Stewart. “But we havent had a specific sighting on it. And there has been nothing this morning.”
ceharnett@timescolonist.com