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Fisherman's body found after spillway accident

BRANDON -- The body of a fisherman was pulled from the water two days after he was knocked into the Rivers Reservoir spillway by an ATV.

Manitoba RCMP say the 39-year-old Brandon man was located Monday afternoon, about 1.5 kilometres downstream.

Sources say the man was originally from China. He came to Brandon several years ago to work at Maple Leaf Foods.

Mei Li, a co-worker of the victim, said employees were shocked when they heard about the tragic event.

"I can't believe it," she said. "I know this guy. We're both Chinese... We see him every day, and we work together."

Li said she would see the victim walking in and out of work, "always smiling."

"I feel sad for him, his family, his wife, his kid... especially for his parents in China," she said. "It's very, very bad."

The incident happened on Saturday around 8:30 p.m. at a popular fishing spot, roughly 29 kilometres northwest of Brandon. The spillway, which has a fast-moving current, pours water from the Rivers Reservoir into the Little Saskatchewan River.

A 58-year-old Rivers woman lost control of the ATV she was driving and careened down a steep embankment, striking the man, who was fishing at the time on the north side of the spillway. The woman died at the scene.

Sources said the man and woman were thrown against a cement retaining wall and wound up in the water.

A bystander or bystanders were able to get the woman out of the water but, despite CPR, she couldn't be revived. The man wasn't seen after the ATV collision.

At this point, it's not clear whether the man and woman died from drowning, or from injuries due to the impact of the ATV collision.

People who identified themselves as friends of the family say the ATV's throttle stuck. A mechanical examination would be standard in such a police investigation.

"It's one of those tragic things that happened," RCMP spokeswoman Tara Seel said. "But alcohol was not involved, it looks like the rider was wearing a helmet. There was a bystander doing a completely separate activity, it's just one of those tragedies that has occurred, and our hearts definitely go out to the families of those involved."


-- Brandon Sun

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