The 44-year-old victim of a tragic drowning incident on the Mira River is being remembered as a family man who would do anything for his children.

Police have yet to release the man’s name, but family and friends say he was a devoted father and military veteran, who served eight months in Afghanistan and recently retired.

Bob Barrett witnessed the incident. He was on his deck when he noticed the victim and his wife in distress after their Sea-Doo drifted away.

"It all happened in what seemed like within five minutes, but it was more like half an hour," said Barrett. "The woman was swimming towards the Sea-Doo, but she stopped, turned around, and started swimming towards the man."

Barrett and his wife, along with two more couples and some other neighbours, rushed down to the water. One among the group was a nurse, and two others were trained in CPR.

"Natalie and her neighbour, Raylene, both jumped in the water right away,” said Barrett. “They got the man up in the boat and started CPR almost instantly."

Barrett's wife called 911. Others kept giving the man medical attention until first responders arrived. Two of the women stayed with the man's sister in one of the boats.

She was so distraught, she would end up being hospitalized.

"Tried to keep her calm and not watching what was going on because we were all giving CPR at different times.  And, you know, he didn't look good," said Barrett.

The man was pronounced dead shortly after first responders arrived.

Family and friends of the victim say he was a strong swimmer who knew the Mira well. How the pair ended up in the water remains under investigation.

According to witnesses, the deceased man was wearing a lifejacket when he left the Sea-Doo.

"He had his lifejacket on when he went in the water,” said Barrett. “But somehow or other he came out of it."

Those living in the area say it seems nearly every summer there’s a tragedy, or at least a close call on the Mira River.

"This is the Mira,” said Barrett. “This is what you got to do, because you never know when it's you in trouble.”

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.