Family of Scot killed in Canada rafting accident to sue

Andrew Barrie. Picture: submitted

Andrew Barrie. Picture: submitted

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THE family of a Scot who drowned after he was swept into a waterfall in Canada have launched a lawsuit over his death.

Relatives of Andrew Barrie are suing Canadian authorities and two families who accompanied them on a river rafting trip for failing to warn them of the Relatives of Andrew Barrie are suing Canadian authorities and two families who accompanied them on a river rafting trip for failing to warn them of the dangers involved.

Mr Barrie, an oil executive from Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, was on holiday with his wife Carol and their teenage son Andrew when he disappeared during a “tubing” excursion in July, 2012.

The family was floating down the Kettle River in British Columbia with a group of people on an inflatable raft made of an inner tube, a dinghy and an air mattress which drifted into rapids and overturned.

Mr Barrie’s wife and son were able to swim to safety, but he was caught by the current and pulled under. His body was recovered a week later.

Two other people, family friends Ron and Jacqueline Legare, both in their 70s, also died in the accident.

Mrs Barrie, 53, has now lodged a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver against the Province of British Columbia and its Tourism and Land departments.

She is also seeking damages from the estates of the Legares and from Scott and Kathy MacNeill, a family from Calgary who also accompanied them on the river trip.

The amount of damages being sought has not been disclosed but it is thought it could run into seven figures.

Legal papers state that “as a result of witnessing Andrew Barrie struggling to escape Kettle River, the delayed recovery of his body and learning of his death, Carol Barrie and Andrew Barrie Jr. suffered extreme mental suffering.”

The family claim the authorities and their companions knew, or ought to have known, that “tubing” in the Kettle River was “inherently dangerous” and that people approaching the Cascade Falls would “likely perish” if they were not given prior warning of them.

The Barries say the river was running “unusually high for the season” at the time of the tragedy, making it even more hazardous.

The local authorities are accused of being negligent by failing to post any warning signs in the area about the dangers of the river or a barrier which would stop people being swept into the waterfall.

They are also said to have promoted water sports on the river to tourists without adequate safety warnings.

The lawsuit states that officials placed their “economic interests ahead of public safety” and exhibited “callous disregard for the safety of the public”.

In a statement following his death, Mr Barrie’s family said: “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.

“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.”

The defendants in the lawsuit have yet to respond.

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