May 21, 2011 2:59 PM GMT
VICTORIA — A white pickup truck sped along the upper ramp of one of the main docks at a Victoria ferry terminal, crashed through the barriers and plunged into the water at about 5 p.m. Friday afternoon.
The truck soared about 30 metres through the air and then dropped into deep water and disappeared, according to shocked witnesses.
B.C. Ferries' video cameras caught the last moments of the driver's life as he apparently committed suicide.
The man driving the truck purchased a ticket for the ferry and then parked for a time in the vehicle lineup. About 25 minutes later, the truck left the lineup and drove at a high rate of speed toward an unoccupied ferry berth.
"The Spirit of B.C. had left the dock five minutes before," said Mike Corrigan, B.C. Ferries' chief operating officer on Friday evening. "I've reviewed the video and there's no ship in sight so this individual purposely wanted to launch himself into the water at a high rate of speed."
It's "very obvious" that the driver of the pickup knew what he was doing, said Corrigan. "This individual decided that he wanted to drive at a very high rate of speed through our barrier gates and launch himself into the ocean."
"He had his pedal to the metal. The only thing that could have slowed him down were the barriers and he snapped through those like nothing," Jim Fryer, a witness, said. "There was nothing anyone could do about it."
Peter Lim was nearby when he heard the pickup truck banging up the ramp. "About 30 seconds later he crashed through the barrier," he said. "I saw him racing, but I didn't see him sailing into the water. He flew up at such a speed. He was going at 60 or 70 kilometres an hour."
Coast guard divers recovered the body Friday evening from the vehicle, which was located a long distance from the dock. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the coroner.
No B.C. Ferries employees were in immediate danger from the truck speeding across the terminal parking lot, said Corrigan.
But many are shocked and emotional after witnessing the incident and counselling will be offered those who want it, he said.
"To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time someone has launched himself off the end of the dock without a vessel being there," Corrigan said. "It's a pretty isolated event, obviously."
Sidney/North Saanich RCMP are determining the identification of the dead man and will investigate how, and why, he drove off the dock.
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