The B.C. Coroners Service has determined the cause of the deaths of two men who died in a boat crash on Osoyoos Lake in 2019 to be accidental, with methamphetamine use to be a contributing factor.
Excessive speeds up 100 km/hour and poor visibility were also found to play a part in the fatal collision.
On June 8, 2019 a collision between two boats occurred on Osoyoos Lake. When emergency crews arrived one was partially submerged and the other had completely sunk.
The two occupants of the sunken boat were identified as Ryan Peter Ellison and Nicholas Brendan Trask, the two men were declared missing at the time and then later deceased.
Two days after the crash, the RCMP underwater diving team recovered the boat and found the two men still inside. Ellison was found still seated at the helm, indicating he was the operator of the boat at the time of the collision.
The coroners service also found that Ellison did not possess a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, which is required top operate the boat he was driving at the time of the collision. Ellison’s family later reported the boat was his and he was familiar with its operation.
The crash occurred just after 7 p.m. when the sun’s reflection on the lake would have significantly reduced Ellison’s visibility, the coroner’s report found. The report also said Ellison’s boat, a 1975 Cobra Lopeo Ski, was travelling at approximately 100 km/hour.
While Ellison’s boat was traveling northwest, the other boat, a 2008 North River Pursuit, was travelling northeast across the lake at just under under 50 km/hour.
According to the rules of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, the North River was the give-way vessel and the Cobra was the stand-on vessel, but ultimately both vessels were responsible to maintain a speed to take evasive actions to avoid a collision.
Investigation showed that neither boat took action to avoid collision. The crash caused Ellison’s boat to sink immediately.
An autopsy revealed that Elision died of blunt force injuries with no evidence of drowning, Trask also died of blunt force injuries.
Toxicology reports showed recreational amounts of methamphetamine in Ellison’s system at the time of the crash.
The B.C. Coroners Service ultimately found use of meth, excessive speed, reduced visibility and failure of the other vehicle to give-way as contributing factors to the crash.
The two deaths were declared accidental and no further recommendations were made.