A preliminary report has found human error was "the clearest contributing factor" in a deadly incident at the Cleveland Dam in North Vancouver, B.C., on Oct. 1, the regional district said Thursday.
Two men, father and son, were killed downstream when the spillway gate unexpectedly opened during maintenance, releasing a torrent of water into the Capilano River.
"While the review continues, we can now confirm that the clearest contributing factor was human error related to programming of the control system for the spillway gate at the Cleveland Dam," Metro Vancouver commissioner Jerry Dobrovolny said in a statement.
"Metro Vancouver takes responsibility for this mistake and our deepest sympathies go out to those affected by the tragic loss of life."
The man, who was an artist, and his son, 27, were among five anglers who were swept away by the icy gush of water after the dam opened. The father's body was found later that day but the remains of his son have not been found.
The others escaped the river on their own or were rescued.
The dam, built in 1954, has a history of malfunctioning. Inspection reports from WorkSafeBC document several incidents in which surges of water were inadvertently released from the dam.
In one instance in 2002, four fishermen were left stranded on a shrinking island in the middle of the river after the level of the waterway suddenly rose by more than a metre.