Bob Plumb, shown before requiring numerous surgeries to repair damages to his face as a result of a machete assault in downtown Courtenay earlier this summer. (Photo submitted)

Island machete attack victim released from hospital

Bob Plumb released from hospital just prior to Christmas and is recovering at home

It’s been nearly six months since 89-year-old Bob Plumb was attacked with a machete in downtown Courtenay, but he still recalls the moment vividly as if it happened yesterday.

“I remember I was cut up so badly – I looked like Frankenstein’s monster,” he says softly with a slight sense of humour.

“They rushed me to Campbell River (hospital) for plastic surgery, and the surgeon made me look like Robert Redford. They did a wonderful job.”

In the early morning hours of July 31, 2019, Plumb was the victim of the unprovoked attack while waiting for the drop-off of a newspaper bundle. It was a routine he performed every day, delivering a daily publication to the various Comox Valley businesses.

RELATED: 89-year-old Courtenay machete attack victim continues to recover in hospital

He was approached by a man on a bicycle who asked him for a cigarette. Plumb told the man that he did not have any cigarettes before the man assaulted him with a machete.

Despite being unable to see out of his left eye and cuts on his hand and face, he drove himself to the Comox Valley RCMP detachment to report the attack.

He was immediately taken to hospital in Courtenay. Shortly afterward, he was transferred to the hospital in Campbell River for plastic surgery before returning to the hospital in Courtenay for months of recovery.

Plumb says the surgeries “went like clockwork” but his injuries and the recovery were initially difficult to process.

“It was a little hard to swallow. The loss of my eye and part of my hand was the hardest. I’ve lost the use of my right hand because the tendons were cut when I was hanging onto the sharp blade. Two fingers don’t bend and my thumb doesn’t bend – and I’m right-handed.”

Due to the attack, he is now blind in his left eye. His retina was detached completely, and he was told he had a one in 100 chance that he would ever regain his vision.

After spending four-and-a-half months in hospital, he made the decision not to have additional surgeries on his hand. He said each surgery would require about six months of post-operative treatment, which he decided against.

Plumb has been out of the hospital for about four weeks and lives by himself with some assistance from home care services, who come to his house four times a day to ensure he takes his medication. He also has help once a week for cleaning.

“I wasn’t too worried (in hospital). The thing is, it was a bit hard to take with the loss of my eye and hand, but with medication, I came out of it. I (did lose) my driver’s licence.”

As for his attacker, Plumb notes he gave a good description to the police and adds he doesn’t want to seek revenge on the individual.

“I just would like to see him off the street. As long as he’s off the street, that’s good. I’m just grateful it wasn’t my daughter who got the blade.”

Comox Valley RCMP spokesperson Monika Terragni says for the last six months, investigators from the detachment’s Major Crime Unit have been diligently gathering evidence and following up on leads.

“Every investigation is unique in the challenges it may present and this one is no different. The time required to complete an investigation is based on many factors, including the nature and complexity of the allegations and the characteristics of the evidence trail.”

She adds the assault remains an active priority for the unit and investigators are dedicated to solving the crime.

Plumb credits the RCMP, first responders, his family and “practically everyone in the city” for the support he has received.

A crowdfunding campaign (now disabled) was created shortly after the attack; more than $31,000 was raised to assist Plumb in his medical recovery.

Now at home, Plumb is not letting the incident slow him down, despite not being able to drive.

“I wasn’t just home for Christmas, I went to my grandson’s place in Port McNeill,” he adds enthusiastically.

RCMP is asking the public for anyone with information about the incident to contact them at 250-338-1321.



photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

’We’ve been dealing with racism all our lives,’ says family of Tla-o-qui-aht woman fatally shot by police

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

What recycling goes where in the ACRD? There’s going to be an app for that

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District hopes residents will use app once it’s developed

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Alberni Valley, West Coast First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Kitchen fire sends one to hospital in Port Alberni

Apartment block evacuated after sprinkler system was set off

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read