Good Samaritan comes forward after Cameron Lake car sinks

'I just did what had to be done,' said Tim Bell of Qualicum Beach, after rescuing a dog from a sinking car.

Tim Bell from Qualicum Beach said he 'did what had to be done' when he rescued a dog from the back of a sinking car at Cameron Lake on Thanksgiving weekend.

Tim Bell from Qualicum Beach said he 'did what had to be done' when he rescued a dog from the back of a sinking car at Cameron Lake on Thanksgiving weekend.

Tim Bell can’t remember the last time he visited Port Alberni.

On Saturday, Oct. 8, having been rained out of work, something compelled the Qualicum Beach man to drive around Cameron Lake and up the ‘Hump’—the Alberni Summit—to visit a friend.

The Patterson family of Nanoose Bay will be forever grateful Bell made that decision.

Several of the Pattersons had travelled from Nanoose Bay and the Lower Mainland to Tofino for a Thanksgiving weekend resort getaway, and were waiting for one last family member, Sam Patterson, to arrive from Vancouver along with her dog Berkeley.

They received a text from Sam on Saturday morning along with a picture of her and Berkeley, a chocolate lab, saying she was on the 6:20 a.m. ferry from Horseshoe Bay.

The next thing they knew, someone from resort reception was knocking on their door saying there was an emergency call for them: Sam was in the hospital in Nanaimo following a car accident.

Her car had hydroplaned while she was driving around Cameron Lake, she swerved to avoid a head-on collision and her car went into the lake.

Bell came upon the accident scene just west of the public beach at Cameron Lake and pulled over.

“I was on the way to Port Alberni to visit a friend, which I hadn’t done in forever,” he said.

Bell said the car was about 20–25 feet offshore and sinking.

He saw a woman trying to go back to the car, screaming that her dog was still inside.

“I’m six-foot-one and 230 pounds, she was about five-foot-four and a hundred-something pounds…she was in shock. I told her to get to shore.”

Bell, who considers himself a strong swimmer, dove into the water and managed to get the panicked dog out of the hatchback and to safety.

“That was my only thought was to get the dog out,” he said.

Once he made sure the dog was OK, someone else volunteered to take Berkeley to the vet in Nanaimo.

Bell changed into a dry shirt, according to passerby April Taylor, then quietly left.

He didn’t leave his name with anyone at the scene, feeling his part was done.

“Everybody was OK,” he said. “I didn’t need (thanks). That’s not why I did it; I just did what had to be done.”

The Pattersons made a public appeal through the Alberni Valley News for the anonymous Good Samaritan to come forward so they could thank him properly. Bell said he thought about keeping quiet, but after the News’ post was shared on the community Facebook site AV Chatter Box and re-shared more than 100 times, numerous friends urged him to come forward.

Ann Patterson, mother of accident victim Sam Patterson, said Bell has since been in touch via telephone.

“We’re all so grateful…he risked his life to do that (save Berkeley) and I can’t express how grateful we are.”

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/alberninews

Facebook.com/albernivalleynews

Just Posted

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van burst into flames just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Kids from a MOSS Sailing Camp sail just off Canal Waterfront Park in Alberni Inlet during a day camp in August 2014. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
MOSS Sailing camps return to Alberni Valley

One-week camps designed for kids will take place at Sproat Lake

Robert Gunn of Alberni Climate Action loads garbage discovered in the Alberni Inlet around Cous Creek into his canoe during a recent ocean shoreline cleanup. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Alberni Climate Action group creates NIC scholarship

Students attending college full time may apply through NIC

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens after accident at Taylor River Flats

Multi-vehicle crash had closed highway to west coast

The Rollin Art Centre is holding children’s art camps this summer. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
ARTS AROUND: Celebrate art in the garden

Rollin Art Centre will host art event on Saturday, June 26

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read