A 24 year-old man died in a surfing accident off Long Beach on Saturday afternoon.
“My heart goes out to his family and friends and to the larger surfing community,” said Tofino mayor Josie Osborne. “Reflecting on this accident also reminds me of how grateful I am of the incredible work that first responders do. They serve selflessly, and I know that accidents like these are really hard on them too.”
Paramedics were seen responding to the incident near Lovekin Rock in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and Cpl. Patrick Jenkins, speaking on behalf of the Tofino RCMP, confirmed that the man had died after a surfing accident. Specific details about the cause of death are not yet known. The man was initially believed to be 27 years old, but the B.C. RCMP issued a statement Monday evening that clarified he was 24.
A GoFundMe page was launched on Sunday that identifies University of Victoria student Nijin John as the man who died. The page had raised $18,675 at 11:30 a.m. Monday.
Area resident John de Vries said he was about to go for a walk along the beach with his son around 3:30 p.m. when he noticed a large group of people gathered near Lovekin Rock.
“We thought it was just a group of newbie surfers and shortly realized that someone was getting CPR or at least, from what we could see, chest compressions,” de Vries said.
Tofino RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Todd Pebernat told the Westerly News on Monday that police have ruled out foul play and are working with the BC Coroners Service.
“It would be fair to say that anytime there’s a tragedy like this, the surfing community, which is most of Tofino I’m sure, is saddened and shocked,” Pebernat said.