British Columbia Ambulance Service paramedic Kim Weitzel and her partner, Shawn Currier, died in the line of duty on May 17 in an incident at a decomissioned lead-zinc mine in the town of Kimberley.
The two were called to a water testing site at the mine after a mining company employee found the body of a contractor, who at the time was thought to have drowned. The employee returned to the site with the paramedics, and all three were killed, apparently due to either a low-oxygen atmosphere or the presence of a toxic gas. The deaths are being investigated, and autopsies are being performed on all four individuals.
Weitzel, who was 44, was a part-time paramedic who had been with the province-wide ambulance service for about three years. She and Currier are the fourth and fifth paramedics in the province ever to die in the line of duty.
The Sullivan mine, owned by the Teck Cominco corporation, was closed several years ago. The water testing site, a small enclosed pumping station, had been visited regularly since then with no reported problems.
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