A Whistler resident was among the five victims killed in a tragic boating accident west of Tofino this weekend, confirmed the BC Coroners Service.
Katie Taylor, 29, was a British national residing in Whistler who died following the capsizing of a whale-watching boat on Sunday, Oct. 25. Taylor worked as a spa manager in town.
"Katie Taylor was an amazing young woman, so full of life and a large part of the Whistler Day Spa family," read a statement from Taylor's employer. "We have been shocked and saddened to hear about her passing in the fatal boating accident near Tofino this weekend. She will be sadly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this sorrowful time."
The other four victims were also British, while a 27-year-old Australian man remains missing. Twenty-one others passengers onboard were rescued.
None of the victims were wearing life-jackets at the time, according to an initial investigation, which is allowed under current regulations for that type of vessel.
According to investigators, it’s thought most of the passengers and crew onboard the Leviathan II were on the top deck of the boat’s port side, raising the vessel’s centre of gravity and affecting stability, when a wave struck from the starboard quarter.
A celebration of Katie's life will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2 at the Dubh Linn Gate.
An online fund for Katie's family has been set up at www.gofundme.com/4c7e2t3g.
Check back with Pique in the coming days for more on this story.
Hotel employee accused of sexual assault by coworkers
A Whistler hotel employee was arrested for sexual assault last week after being accused of inappropriately touching two of his coworkers, police said.
On Wednesday, Oct. 21, police received a call from an employee at the village hotel to report a sexual assault by her coworker the week before.
The woman claimed the suspect had “kissed her, touched her genitals and forced her to touch his genitals” while the two were working a shift together on Oct. 16, said Whistler RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair.
Another employee at the hotel also came forward, telling police the man had previously made “unwanted sexual advances” towards her and had “touched her inappropriately.”
“Police are concerned there could be other victims at the hotel that have not yet come forward,” LeClair said, noting that police will continue the investigation to determine if there are any other allegations of assault before recommending charges to prosecutors.
The suspect, a 62-year-old Squamish resident, was released on conditions not to attend the hotel.
Lost mushroom picker taken to safety by passing hunter
A Pemberton man who was reported missing Saturday, Oct. 24 turned up safe and sound thanks to a passing hunter who escorted him to safety.
Police received a call around 9:30 p.m. from a man concerned that his mushroom-picking partner had gone missing somewhere along the Mackenzie Basin Forest Service Road.
“He believed the missing person may have been seriously injured during a harvesting run and was possibly stuck on the mountain while inadequately equipped to spend the night,” said LeClair.
Pemberton Search and Rescue was activated to look for the missing man, but it turns out he was already warming up in a nearby hotel room.
Police believe theft cases could be linked
Local police believe a sting of recent mailbox thefts could be linked to a number of vehicle break-ins that have taken place over the past week.
Over the same period, there were also five reports of damage to postal boxes from across the community.
“One of the mailbox thefts occurred off of Alta Lake Road, so you’d kind of think these are all probably related,” said LeClair.
The investigation continues.
Teen crashes car down embankment
While police haven’t decided if charges will be laid against a 16-year-old girl who crashed a car down an embankment this week, you can be sure the local high schooler is already in plenty of hot water at home.
On Sunday, Oct. 25, police were notified of a vehicle that had fallen down a 12-metre embankment on Alta Lake Road.
When officers arrived, they found the black BMW X5 with extensive damage, but no one inside.
“The bumper was ripped off, the roof was caved in and the front of the vehicle was crushed,” said LeClair.
Mounties eventually confirmed that none of the car’s four occupants had been injured.
LeClair was unaware if the teen was licensed to drive, and said police are still determining whether she will face any charges.