Canada Kingsville drowning victim died saving son, say loved ones

00:35  10 august  2017
00:35  10 august  2017 Source:   Windsor Star

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Tyson Koehn of Kingsville sells produce at a farmer's market in downtown Windsor in this 2009 file photo. © Nick Brancaccio, Windsor Star Tyson Koehn of Kingsville sells produce at a farmer's market in downtown Windsor in this 2009 file photo. The Kingsville man who drowned on Tuesday held his seven-year-old son above the water before he disappeared under the surface, say family members.

Tyson Koehn, 41, jumped off a boat into the waters of Lake Erie near Cedar Island to save one of his children, Trenton, according to loved ones.

Family friend and neighbour Bruce Goossen said Tyson’s nephew told him what happened.

“It was heart-stopping,” said Goossen about hearing news of Koehn’s sacrifice. “I can’t explain how I feel.”

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Goossen said Koehn’s wife and five children — three daughters and two sons — are devastated by the tragedy.

However, “they have very good support. They have a very good family behind them. That part is a blessing.”

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter searches the water near Cedar Island off the Kingsville shore in this reader-submitted image on Aug. 8, 2017.

Emergency responders were alerted around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday that a boater had gone missing off the Kingsville shore.

Provincial police, the Kingsville fire department, and Essex-Windsor EMS converged on the location.

OPP learned that Koehn had been operating a small boat with four children on board.

Goossen said some of the kids on the boat were Tyson’s, and some were visiting relatives.

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“He loved fishing,” Goossen explained. “Fishing with his boys. Fishing on open water.”

Trenton had entered the water for swimming but began to struggle.

Police said Koehn went into the water to aid the child, but himself began to struggle and sank.

The four children were rescued by a passing vessel and a citizen who swam from shore.

The Essex County OPP marine unit, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, and a U.S. coast guard helicopter and vessel all searched the waters for Koehn.

The Canadian Coast Guard’s Amherstburg-based search and rescue crew was also activated, deploying their Thunder Cape vessel and a Zodiac boat.

Koehn was located in the water about an hour after he went under. Paramedics attempted CPR. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“He was a well-liked individual. Everybody appreciated him,” Goossen said.

“He was always cheerful. I don’t think I ever saw the man down. He loved his family dearly.”

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Goossen said the Koehns have a Mennonite background and moved to Essex County about 12 years ago.

Tyson had a reputation for kindness, gentleness, and consideration. He was known in the farming community as the owner and operator of a produce stand — Koehn’s Farm Market, located on County Road 20 between Kingsville and Harrow.

“We’re trying to grow a little of everything, so we can offer people a full table,” Koehn said in a video interview while selling his fruits and vegetables at the Downtown Windsor Farmer’s Market in 2010.

Tyson Koehn of Kingsville in a video interview at the Downtown Windsor’s Farmer Market in 2010.

The business was a family affair, with Koehn’s wife and kids joining him in the work.

Koehn took pride in supporting Essex County farmers and local product. “Everything we sell is local. If it’s not local, I won’t carry it,” Koehn said. “That is one of the reasons I’m here — to try to serve the people as best I can.”

Koehn also grew his own apples, peaches, and plums in orchards on County Road 20 — formerly Hric’s Orchards.

Goossen said that in more recent years, Koehn got out of the farming business and was working for Wilkinson Electric Ltd. in Leamington.

“He became an electrician after the farm,” Goossen said.

Faith was important to Tyson. The Koehns belong to the Southern Shores Church of God in Christ.

Arrangements were still in the process of being made at press time.

A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help the Koehn family in their time of need.

The campaign describes Tyson as “an excellent father and provider for his family.”

His loved ones “depended on his hard work” and “his strong faith in God to guide them as a family through rough times.”

Visit www.gofundme.com/thekoehns to contribute to the campaign.

dchen@postmedia.com

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