Father of three, 28-year-old Nathan Appleton of Chilliwack was killed in a workplace accident that occurred on Nov. 29. (GoFundeMe)

Young B.C. father of three killed in workplace accident

GoFundMe and two fundraisers planned to help spouse and children aged, three, five and seven

A tragic workplace accident last week has left three young Chilliwack children without their father less than a month before Christmas.

The death of Nathan Appleton after a pre-fabricated wall fell from a crane on him on a construction site in New Westminster on Nov. 29 also means the mother of his children is without her spouse, and his parents are without their 28-year-old son.

The only glimmer of positive coming from the tragic death of Nathan, according to his father Mark, is that as many as seven other people will receive or already have received organ donations.

“That was nice,” Mark told The Progress Wednesday.

Mark set up a GoFundMe campaign to help Nathan’s wife Ashley and the three children aged three, five and seven in this time of grief and pain. By Tuesday the $5,000 goal had been reached, and because others wanted to donate, Mark raised the goal to $10,000.

The workplace accident was investigated by the RCMP and is now under investigation by WorkSafeBC.

And Mark wants answers.

“Why was my son doing a job that he wasn’t trained to do?” he asks.

While official details of what happened are still unconfirmed, Mark was told there was no certified rigger on site so Nathan was asked to secure the walls to be lifted by crane for a residential construction project.

• RELATED: Equipment malfunction blamed in Chilliwack workplace death

• RELATED: Trash collection company violated rules when Chilliwack worker hurt

That was just after 10 a.m. on Nov. 29. Four out of five walls were lifted up several stories without incident. But with the fifth wall, something went wrong.

“Nathan was standing right beside the [crane] operator talking with him,” Mark explained. “The operator saw it come and jumped back. The fellow on the balcony yelled at Nathan to get out of the way. Nathan looked up and when he looked up there was no time to move.”

He suffered a ruptured aorta, brain trauma, lacerations to his liver, and deep cuts to his face. He was kept alive although he suffered more than one heart attack between the construction site and Royal Columbian Hospital.

Nathan’s parents and Ashley were called to the hospital and told the news.

“They said ‘your son has been involved in a tragic accident and it doesn’t look good,’” Mark recalled. “When the doctor, the brain surgeon or neurologist came in, he did a CT scan and there was no brain activity. He was already brain dead at that point. They couldn’t do anything.”

That was just after 2:30 p.m. the next day, Friday, Nov. 30. Ashley and Nathan’s parents then met with the organ donation centre, tests were done, and by Monday they were told five of his organs could be harvested for transplant recipients during an operation that evening.

“We got a call Tuesday morning from the organ donor centre and they told us the operation went well… and instead of five, there were seven recipients that got Nathan’s organs. That was nice.”

Attention is now focused on Ashley and the three kids, particularly as the 28-year-old man was the sole income provider for the young family.

In addition to the GoFundMe account, two other fundraiser have been set up to help the family.

Corky’s Irish Pub is hosting Christmas for the Kids on Dec. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. with $15 tickets for a burger and a drink fundraiser.

And Nathan’s sister Koren was involved with Excel Martial Arts, so the studio is hosting a “Parent Christmas Shopping Break” fundraiser for the Appletons on Dec. 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. Donations of $10 will be accepted for each child who attends, and it will be an afternoon of movies and games so parents can get some shopping done.

Mark said Save-On-Foods has stepped up to take the family on at Christmas, and the kids’ school, Robertson elementary, is similarly helping out.

As for Mark and his focus on the accident investigation, working as an electrician and an occupational safety officer himself, he said he is somewhat familiar with these matters. He actually went back to the site of the accident to pay his respects to where Nathan was killed.

“Nothing had been touched,” he said. “There was still parts of Nathan’s clothes that they had cut off. There was tubes with blood in it, scissors, everything. They were working frantically trying to revive him, you could just see all the stuff. Still some of Nathan’s tools were scattered around.”

Whatever happened, Mark expects the investigation to find out and if anyone needs to be held accountable, they will be.

“I want answers to this accident.”


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

IIO doesn’t recommend charges after motorcyclist death in Mill Bay

An off-duty VicPD officer was involved in the crash

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Two boats reported in trouble in Cowoichan Bay on Dec. 13

Coast Guard responds, but finds only one vessel that required assistance

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read