A 42-year-old Vancouver Island man is dead after flipping off his inner tube on a fast-flowing river Wednesday evening, and Mounties believe alcohol was a factor.

The victim was with friends on the Puntledge River near Courtenay when he fell into the water at around 6 p.m. He was found face-down on a small island shortly after.

His friends frantically tried to perform CPR, with RCMP calling directions over a loudspeaker from the river’s edge.

“It was very hard to keep the crew in tow from not jumping in the river,” Const. Kelly Godard told CTV News. “But we are not set up for swift water rescue.”

An off-duty volunteer firefighter eventually jumped into the water to help perform CPR until the RCMP’s Swift Water Rescue Team arrived, but the man could not be revived.

He was pronounced dead a short time later.

The deceased’s name has not been released, but Mounties say he was new to the Comox Valley area.

The RCMP will be working with the B.C. Coroners Service to determine the cause of death, but officers believe alcohol and inexperience were contributing factors.

“This male had admitted to his friends earlier that he was not a strong swimmer,” Godard said.

The tragedy came just days after BC Hydro issued a warning to use extra caution along the river due to increased water flows, as they work to keep the Comox Dam reservoir from overflowing.

It also followed one week after a pair of young girls were rescued from an accident on the nearby Tsolum River.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Scott Hurst