The coroner’s report confirms the reason for demise of three males on the Sooke River in 2020 – Victoria Information

The February 2020 death of three Sooke men, who drowned in the Sooke River after their vehicle was washed away by the fast-flowing water, was classified as accidental in a report released Wednesday by the BC Corner Service.

Investigators said there was no evidence of foul play or poisoning.

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Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore, and AJ Jensen, all 20, disappeared on January 31, 2020, sparking a massive search for the ground and air.

The 2004 Dodge Dakota pickup they were driving in was spotted on February 2 in the fast-flowing Sooke River about a mile downstream from the lower parking lot at the entrance to Sooke Potholes Regional Park. The bodies of Mills and Blackmore were found the same day. Jensen’s body was found downstream from the pickup truck two days later.

The report said that the three best friends “puddled” the truck along Sooke River Road, which was covered with fast-flowing water from heavy rain.

Puddle jumping is a popular pastime for Sooke teens when the river overflows and people drive their vehicles through large ponds of stagnant water to see the water splash up the sides of their vehicles.

The river rose more than six meters this weekend, and the force of the flowing water was enough to pull the vehicle into the river and prevent self-rescue, the coroner said.

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The coroner recommended closing the parking lot entrance to Sooke Potholes Regional Park every night and during flood times.

The Sooke District has implemented the recommendation.

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