Friends mourn truck driver who died in Halifax workplace accident
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018 9:34PM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, July 12, 2018 7:38AM ADT
Friends of the man who was found dead in Halifax Harbour on Monday say he was driving a dump truck that went into the water.
His body was recovered Monday and Wednesday crews spent the day working to retrieve the truck.
It was a major operation as a small fleet of tow trucks worked to pull a 10,000-pound dump truck from the cold waters of the Halifax Harbour.
It wound up there Monday in a kind of accident that’s every trucker’s nightmare.
“Not often is there a spotter over there to tell you when to stop dumping, or stop backing up so, you know, it's your judgment,” said Gary Richard, a truck driver and a friend of the victim.
Just before 10 a.m. Monday police responded to reports of a man’s body near the A. Murray MacKay Bridge.
Friends and family tell CTV Atlantic the victim was 44-year-old Michael Wile. He has three children and was engaged to be married.
Relatives say he was a good man who loved his kids and fiancé, and was respected by many.
"A real good guy,” said friend and fellow truck driver Robert Roop. “I'm getting teared up now, see?”
Roop says the news of his friend’s death has been difficult to deal with.
“I was supposed to work with him on Monday … and that coulda been me.”
Roop says the work is part of a massive backfill project, with truckers trying to dump as close to the edge as possible before going back for another load.
He sensed something was wrong when he got a call from his boss Monday morning.
“He said that mike was MIA,” Roop said. “And I said, 'Well, did anybody ever think to check the harbour because he might have went in.”
The accident is now being investigated by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour, which will only say the investigation is ongoing.
A stop-work order issued to Scotiascapes Landscaping Inc. remains in effect.
CTV Atlantic's inquiries to the owner went unanswered Wednesday.
Meanwhile, friends of Wile say they will be waiting patiently for the results, but they hope it doesn't take too long.
They say they would like to see some changes at the worksite to prevent similar tragedies in the future, and they note, if his body had not been recovered from the water, trucks would have continued dumping at the spot, and it’s possible no one would ever know what happened to Wile.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.