Wranglers should wear helmets: coroner

Yukon's coroner is recommending that anyone hired to wrangle wild horses in the Yukon wear a helmet.

Yukon’s coroner is recommending that anyone hired to wrangle wild horses in the Yukon wear a helmet.

The recommendation, from chief coroner Kirsten Macdonald, comes as part of her report into the death of Arnold Johnson in January 2014.

Johnson, 57, was a subcontractor hired to round up wild horses north of Whitehorse, near Kusawa Lake.

According to Macdonald’s report, on Jan. 26 Johnson and a second man were attempting to wrangle six horses from a coral into a loading shoot to be taken away from the area.

It is not uncommon to move wild horses in the Yukon. They are seen as a public safety concern.

This group of horses was frequenting the highway right of way on the North Alaska Highway, Macdonald noted.

The horses spooked and an 800-pound mare tried to jump a metal livestock gate. The mare got her legs tangled up and both the horse and the gate fell on Johnson, Macdonald said.

“Mr. Johnson struck his head on the frozen ground and was immediately unconscious,” the report says. “As a result he sustained serious head injuries and was pronounced deceased on Jan. 27, 2014 at Whitehorse General Hospital as a result of blunt force head trauma.”

Macdonald lists his death as accidental.

The coroner’s report is in line with a preliminary report released by the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board in March.

According to the board, the direct cause of the accident was “that the metal fence panels in the chute were not capable of withstanding the force applied against them and one failed when the wild horse attempted to jump it.”

The sole recommendation in Macdonald’s report is that people working with the feral horses wear helmets. She notes that Johnson did not have a helmet or any other protective gear when he was knocked over.

“A helmet would have mitigated the head injuries sustained by Mr. Johnson in this incident,” she said.

The recommendation, to the Yukon government’s agriculture branch, is that anyone who is working to capture, corral or transport feral horses be made to wear a helmet.

The Yukon’s feral horse wrangling operation was put on hold following Johnson’s death.

Agriculture director Tony Hill said his office is waiting for the WCB to finish its final report to decide if the program is going to be started up again.

He said they intend to implement the coroner’s recommendation if the program is restarted.

WCB spokesperson Richard Mostyn said his office is planning on releasing its final report in less than two weeks, on Jan. 26.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read