Tragic fishing mishap claims Little Current man’s life at Pike Lake

Bradley Alston

Brad Alston, 28, was a well-liked hard worker, called a ‘gentle giant’

LITTLE CURRENT – The Little Current community is mourning the loss of a ‘gentle giant’ this week following the drowning death of 28-year-old Brad Alston.

On Saturday, August 1 at 9:15 pm, officers from the Manitoulin detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Sudbury-Manitoulin emergency medical services (EMS) responded to a report of a possible drowning in Pike Lake in the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands. 

Investigation revealed that Mr. Alston had been observed fishing. A short time later, witnesses saw the boat drifting and subsequently found the Little Current man, who was living in an A-frame cottage on Pike Lake at the time of his death, floating. He was not wearing a lifejacket. 

Mr. Alston was transported to hospital by ambulance where he was pronounced deceased. 

Mr. Alston worked for Mark Anderson of JJ Pole Line Construction for over six years, coming to work straight after graduating from Manitoulin Secondary School, following a stint with the company during a high school co-op program.

“I’m going to miss the young fella,” Mr. Anderson said when reached by phone Monday morning.

Mr. Anderson said he was pleased to teach Mr. Alston the trade. From running an excavator, climbing poles to operating a chainsaw, his young student was a quick learner and eventually enrolled as a linesman apprentice. Mr. Alston went on to work in the Detour Lake mine as well as running heavy machinery for E. Corbiere and Sons Construction at off-Island construction sites. Friends close to Mr. Alston say he was planning a move west in the weeks to come.

“He’s the hardest worker I ever had,” Mr. Anderson continued. “It’s been said many times, Brad was a gentle giant. He loved to laugh and had tons of friends—he was just one of those guys who loved people. There was not a mean bone in his body.”

From all accounts, Mr. Alston was a people person who had friends of all ages. He was known for making tours with his beloved pickup truck and stopping in for visits wherever he went.

Mr. Alston had a passion for the outdoors and especially looked forward to the annual moose and deer hunts.

Mr. Alston is survived by his parents Craig and Kelly Alston, siblings Katrina and Jordan and nieces and a nephew, all of Little Current.

A post mortem examination has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death. 

The investigation is ongoing under the direction of the Office of the Chief Coroner and the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OCC-OFPS). Foul play is not suspected.