Canadian Forces member dies in hiking accident on Island

The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating the sudden death of a 29-year-old Canadian Armed Forces member stationed in the Comox Valley.

William Francesco Vant Erve, 29, died on Nov. 27, after an accident while hiking in the Alberni-Clayoquot mountain range on the Island.

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Vant Erve was a firefighter, a mountaineer, a mountain biker, a motorcycle enthusiast, a parachutist, fisherman and an amateur chef.

He died while hiking, according to an obituary provided by 19 Wing Comox.

Andy Watson, spokesman for the B.C. Coroners Service, said Tuesday that, based on information relayed by Ucluelet RCMP, the death was not suspicious, “but it was a sudden, unexpected death.” It occurred somewhere in the Alberni-Clayoquot range, he said.

Vant Erve was also a professional firefighter at 19 Wing Comox and a volunteer firefighter with the Courtenay Fire Department.

The firefighters of the 19 Wing Green Crew remembered Vant Erve as “a kind and humble man who would drop whatever he was doing to help another person.” Vant Erve cooked for his crew, played harmless practical jokes and kept colleagues laughing with impersonations.

His wife, Alyssa Bird, remembered him as a man who seized every opportunity — “more epic was always better,” she said in his obituary.

Vant Erve is described as a caring man with a gift of humour and a soft spot for those who were more vulnerable.

He survived by his parents, his wife, sisters and a grandmother.

There will be a vigil for him Wednesday, Dec. 4, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Comox Valley Funeral Home, 1101 Ryan Rd., followed by a funeral on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 11 a.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church, 1599 Tunner Dr.

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