Forestry firm halts operations, offers condolences for deaths of three workers
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WOSS, B.C. — The company operating a train that derailed and killed three people in a northern Vancouver Island community stopped business Friday out of respect for the families of the victims.
Two people were killed Thursday in Woss, B.C., and RCMP Cpl. Tammy Douglas confirmed Friday that a third victim died after being transported to hospital. Police said two others were also taken to hospital.
A joint statement from Western Forest Products and the union representing its workers said counselling services were made available to the employees, families and community affected by the tragedy.
Woss is located about 75 kilometres southeast of Port McNeill and has about 200 residents. The forestry firm is one of the area's major employers. The crash occurred on the Englewood Railway, a 90-kilometre long spur line operated by Western Forest Products.
The firm said all timberlands operations were closed Friday, and the company and union share the deep sense of grief over the deaths and injuries resulting from the incident.
"We are actively working to support all those affected in any way we can," said Brian Butler, president of United Steelworkers Local 1-1937, in a news release.
Don Demens, chief executive officer of Western Forest Products, said safety remains the company's first priority and it is fully co-operating with authorities as the investigation continues.
"The well-being and safety of our employees and the communities where we operate is paramount," he said in the statement.
A statement from WorksafeBC, the provincial workplace safety body, said the RCMP would take the lead on the investigation. Spokeswoman Trish Knight Chernecki said Worksafe also had three officers on site and is investigating the cause and prevention under the Workers Compensation Act.
Douglas said an RCMP investigator was on the scene Friday, but no additional information was being released.