NEWS

Kettle River tubing death triggers lawsuit from family of Andrew Barrie

07/22/2015 11:22 EDT | Updated 07/22/2016 05:59 EDT
A Scottish family has launched a lawsuit after a man drowned while tubing on the Kettle River near Grand Forks, B.C. three years ago.

Andrew Barrie, an oil consultant from Scotland, was on holiday in Canada with his wife and son in 2012 visiting friends in the region. 

Family outing with friends

During their visit, they decided to join their friends, the MacNeill family, in Calgary and then went with the Macneills to stay and visit the Legares family in Christina Lake. A couple of days into the visit, the MacNeills and the Legares suggested the group go tubing on the Kettle River, a popular summer activity in the region around Grand Forks. 

In the lawsuit, the Barrie family says the river seemed calm when they headed out. But towards the end of the leisurely ride, conditions changed suddenly.

A smaller contingent of the group, including the visiting Barrie family, got sucked down towards the turbulent waters that lead to the 40-metre Cascade Falls. 

The lawsuit specifies that Andrew Barrie's son saw Ron and Jacqueline Legare get swept away. He escaped and managed to pull his mother to shore with him, and then watched as his father floated downstream rapidly. 

Andrew Barrie was unable to free himself from the fast-moving waters. The family alleges he "experienced grievous personal injuries, pain and suffering" before he eventually drowned. 

Ron and Jacqueline Legare and Andrew Barrie all died that day. Barrie's body wasn't found for a week. 

No warning of danger

In the lawsuit, the family is suing the MacNeill family and the estate of the Legare family plus the province of B.C. and the municipal and regional governments saying that tubing down the river is an activity that's promoted at local tourist centres and by the province.

However, they allege that no warning is given anywhere about the dangers of the falls and the approaching rapids. It also claims that the river was particularly high that year, and was therefore especially dangerous. 

The lawsuit says the Barrie family have experience "extreme mental suffering" as a result of witnessing Andrew Barrie struggling to escape.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and the defendants have not filed a statement of defence.

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