Calgary firefighter Ryan Bjolverud killed in BC canoeing accident

WATCH: Calgary fire-fighters are mourning the loss of 32-year-old Ryan Bjolverud, who drowned Sunday morning in a canoeing accident in BC. Jill Croteau reports.

CALGARY – Members of the Calgary Fire Department are mourning the loss of one of their own.

Calgary firefighter Ryan Bjolverud was killed in a canoeing accident in British Columbia on Sunday.

RCMP say Bjolverud and a friend were fishing in a canoe on Columbia Lake near the Fairmont Hot Springs around 4 a.m. when their boat capsized.

“They were able to hang on to canoe and attempted to swim back into shore,” explained  RCMP Cpl. Grant Simpson. “But they were too far out to get out safely, and the one man eventually succumbed to exhaustion and drowned.”

Cpl. Simpson says neither Bjolverud or his friend had life-jackets.

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“Alcohol is believed to have been a contributing factor,” he added. “And the victim was not considered to be a very strong swimmer.”

The Calgary Firefighters Association tweeted about Bjolverud’s passing on Sunday night.

Calgary Fire Department Chief Steve Dongworth said losing a colleague in such a sudden way was “very traumatic.”

“In our work we depend on each other for our lives at times,” said Dongworth. “That means we formed very strong relationships with those that we work with. And that’s what we are experiencing going through this particular event–particularly with the family connection that Ryan had with the department.”

“It’s a somber reminder to people to be as safe as they can when pursuing any kind of activity. Being the chief, I would be remiss not to take this opportunity to remind people to be safe when they are doing those kinds of activities.”

Bjolverud had been with the Calgary Fire Department for about two years.

His father, Glenn Bjolverud, is an Assistant Deputy Chief within the Calgary Fire Department.

– With files from Sarah Offin and Jill Croteau

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