Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Family of falls man speaks of grief

Andrew Barrie was on holiday in Canada when he is thought to have been swept to his death over waterfalls

Relatives of a man thought to have been swept to his death over waterfalls in Canada have spoken of their sadness and grief.

Andrew Barrie was on holiday with his wife Carol and 16-year-old son Andrew when he went on a river trip at the weekend.

Along with two other people, Mr Barrie is believed to have been swept over falls on Kettle River, near Grand Forks in British Colombia, on Saturday.

The bodies of a local couple in their 70s, who were sharing a small inflatable dinghy, have been recovered from the water.

In a statement released through the Foreign Office, his family said: "It is with great sadness and grief that we can confirm that Andrew Barrie, age 50, of Balloch, Alexandria, Scotland, is missing presumed drowned.

"What had started as a beautiful, peaceful float on the river with friends who knew the river well turned to tragedy with the loss of three lives. Two bodies have been recovered so far, both of whom were local people who had lived in the area for 10 years.

"The river is normally calm and was used by other people on the same day. However, due to recent heavy rain, one particular stretch of the river was treacherous with strong currents. There are no signs anywhere indicating the possible dangers and we had no concerns whatsoever on being on the water that day."

Police in Canada said the missing man probably drowned. Rescue teams are still searching for his body. The three are believed to have been with a party of 13 people. Witnesses say part of the group were swept away by the current.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said: "Search and rescue technicians will monitor the area in the coming days in attempts to locate the man's body. The family of the 50-year-old Scottish man have been advised by the RCMP and Grand Forks Victim Services personnel that the man is presumed to have drowned."

The news has shocked Mr Barrie's community in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire. Andrew MacGregor, charge-hand at The Dog House pub in the town, said: "It is a shock to everyone in the area. He was really well liked. He was a fun guy. Everybody had a lot of time for him."

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