A man stands at the edge of the water of Okanagan Lake at Gyro Park on Lakeshore Road. Four men have died this summer in Okanagan Lake. The lake ranks as the deadliest body of water in B.C. this summer.
George Matthew Klein's death
was the first of five water-related fatalities in the Okanagan so far this summer. The Interior region has
registered 18 drownings this year - the highest death toll of the five regions in B.C.
Klein, 42, dove from a dock into the lake with his jeans on in late June. Several kids, including his two young sons, were playing in the water and seemed to be in trouble. Other adults also jumped in and helped rescue the children.
Klein appeared to struggle as he swam back to shore. He sank and never resurfaced. Search volunteers later found his body five metres deep and eight metres from the dock.
The water temperature was about 18 C. Klein and his extended family were at a beach resort on the south end of Wood Lake, where Vernon Creek empties and generates currents as the runoff spills in.
"That may have contributed to both the initial incident with the children swimming and the reason why Mr. Klein did not surface," said Coroner Andrew Cave.
Four men have died this summer in Okanagan Lake, including a former Western Hockey League player who drove his jet ski into a log boom near Trader's Cove after sunset last weekend. The lake ranks as the deadliest body of water in B.C. this summer, as it does most years.
Across the province, 54 people drowned from January through Aug. 25 - down from 67 in the same period last year, the Coroner's Service says. Four in 10 of this year's victims drowned in the Interior.
The reason for the high incidence may be the Interior's abundance of lakes, rivers, resorts, beaches and fishing holes combined with its hot summer weather, said Barb McLintock, who speaks for the Coroner's Service.
"You have a lot of people who live there and spend time at the beach or lake, or visitors from other parts of the province or world. More people might not be around water that much.
"They're simply not as accustomed to taking care around water as some people on the coast who walk along rocks or breakwaters every day."
- eight of every 10 victims this year were male;
- 45 per cent of victims were ages 20 to 49;
- since 2010, lakes have claimed 39 per cent of the people who drowned in B.C.;
- since 2010, rivers claimed 33 per cent of B.C. victims, the ocean 14 per cent, swimming pools 7 per cent and baths 4 per cent.
Klein grew up in Edgewood and learned how to trap, fish and hunt. He was a hunting guide in the Arrow Lakes and the Yukon. He's survived by his wife, two sons ages 11 and 9, and 4-year-old daughter.