Aboriginal fisherman in hospital after attack

Port Alberni resident Bert McCarthy, 41, is recovering in Nanaimo Regional General Hospital after being swarmed by four men on Saturday.

A Port Alberni man is in Nanaimo Regional General Hospital recovering from a broken leg after a weekend attack.

According to RCMP Cpl. Colin Banks, on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. an off-duty police officer driving along River Road found Bert McCarthy, 41, being attacked by four individuals. The officer stopped to help McCarthy and the suspects fled.

McCarthy was taken to hospital with undetermined injuries. But family members indicated to the News that McCarthy underwent surgery Monday morning for a severely broken leg.

According to Banks, McCarthy, a Hupacasath fisherman, was traveling by boat down the Alberni canal when he encountered two jet skiers. “Bert may have been working and may not have appreciated them buzzing around the boat, I don’t know all of the details yet,” Banks said.

McCarthy traveled to Alberni where he docked his boat before making his way to Petrocan. There, he found two vehicles with jet skis attached. “A conversation ensued, Bert was chased out of the parking lot and the fight was on,” Banks said.

Police will be examining video surveillance footage from Petrocan this week in an effort to identify the men who attacked McCarthy, Banks said. “It doesn’t always help but our investigators will be looking at it,” he said. “All we have right now are Bert’s version of events.

“They’ll be looking to see if either Bert provoked it, or, if he was assaulted for no reason, then we could have criminal charges.”

Hupacasath chief councillor Steven Tatoosh said that he doesn’t know what all the facts are  yet so he is reserving comment. “I’m going to see Berto today and will be speaking to police.”

Hupacasath fisherman Tom Tatoosh said it’s fishing season and aboriginal fishermen — including himself — are often sworn at by people along the road.

“I don’t know all the facts yet so I don’t want to say too much,” Tatoosh said. “But I really hope that this has nothing to do with race.”

Anyone with any information about the incident can call police at 250-723-2424 or Port Alberni Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

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