Catalyst Pulp Mill fatality in Crofton identified as Qualicum Beach man

B.C. Coroners confirm man involved in industrial accident Tuesday is Perry Vernon Thomas

The B.C. Coroners Service confirmed yesterday that 66-year-old Qualicum Beach resident Perry Vernon Thomas died at Catalyst Pulp Mill in Crofton Tuesday.

Catalyst Mill posted a statement saying a contract truck driver delivering wood chips to the mill Tuesday night was discovered to be missing.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP issued a news release saying they were contacted that night at approximately 7:50 p.m. by the mill.

“Officers attended to the scene, and determined that there was enough to support the belief that the driver had been taken by a conveyor belt, and carried into one of the storage silos,” states the release.

B.C. Coroners Service said Thomas was recovered from one of the chip silos at the mill early Thursday morning but could not be resuscitated. The silo is linked to the area where Thomas was to dump chips by a conveyor belt more than 300 metres long.

Police say there is nothing to suggest a criminal act at this time.

Thomas’ family has been notified of his death.

WorkSafe BC is leading the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident to determine cause. The RCMP and the Coroner’s Office are also investigating.