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.

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

Just Posted

OUR VIEW: Way too many Surrey COVID-19 cases

We all need to take this threat seriously

Horgan says Surrey mayor opened ‘hornets’ nest’ with Surrey policing transition

Surrey election battle heating up over Doug McCallum’s controversial cop transition

Semiahmoo Bottle Depot part of hybrid-electic compaction truck pilot program

Return-It launches program at 16 B.C. bottle depots with aim to reduce emissions

Horgan lambastes Liberal health record in Surrey

BCNDP leader attacks Andrew Wilkinson’s role in selling a potential hospital site here at a discount

OPINION: It’s Time for Surrey to be Heard

Which party will listen to Surrey voters?

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Return-It depots change beverage container deposits from 20 to 10 cents

Change will be implemented on Oct. 1, with a transition period being held until Oct. 11

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Young man assaulted, left for 12 hours until help called in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park

Vancouver police are looking to identify the victim as they investigate an assault on Monday evening

Boulders near Harrison vandalized with derogatory word

Vandalism likely occured between Sunday evening and Tuesday evening

Most Read