VANCOUVER – Mission RCMP confirm two young men are dead after their vehicle went down a 500-feet embankment in a remote area Sunday afternoon.
The two men, 21 and 22 years old, were in a Honda CRV driving south on the Norrish Creek Forest Service Road when at the four-kilometre mark they went off the road. Witnesses tell police they saw the SUV begin to lose control and fishtail while negotiating a curve in the road.
The driver of the SUV has been identified as 22-year-old Henry Giles Niessen. Henry and several friends were returning from a camping trip on Sunday when Henry lost control of the CRV, hit the embankment and crashed backwards down the ravine. His passenger, a 21-year-old man from Chilliwack, has not been identified.
Police say speed and alcohol are not factors in the crash.
Henry’s parents told Global News he had just received his novice license and was not skilled on driving the forest gravel roads.
“He just got his ‘N’,” says Christine Niessen. “He was proud that he got his ‘N’ and he was coming down from Kelowna to meet his friends, go camping, and like I said they went down a road that an unexperienced driver should not have gone down.”
“But they’re young men, they’re out for adventure on a weekend and they took that road.”
The call came in to 9-1-1 at 5:25 p.m. but because that area has no cell coverage, witnesses to the accident, along with the duo’s friends, had to drive a number of kilometres before they could call for help.
“Local Mission Search and Rescue were called in,” says Sgt. Shaun Wright from the Mission RCMP, “just due to the nature of the vehicle being down a steep embankment.”
He says this area is often used for outdoor recreation activities and Mounties want to remind people to take care when driving on these roads.
“Drivers should be mindful that Forest Service Roads are not maintained in the same condition as highways” says Wright. “All drivers, and inexperienced drivers in particular, must use caution and drive carefully when using Forest Service Roads.”
Henry’s family is now faced with paying for the young man’s funeral and are asking for donations from the public. Anyone can donate via this Gmail account and send an Interac e-Transfer to Loveforhenryniessen@gmail.com.
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