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Post editor killed in camping accident

CHETICAMP — A senior reporter and editor with the Cape Breton Post was the victim of a fatal weekend accident on Cheticamp Island.

Chris Hayes

The body of Chris Hayes, 62, of Sydney, was found shortly before 6 a.m. Monday following a search by a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter, the Cheticamp Ground Search and Rescue, and Emergency Health Services.

Autopsy results are not expected until today but an RCMP spokesman said Monday foul play is not suspected.

Hayes and a friend were camping on the island overnight Sunday. Each ventured out in a separate direction for a walk but only the friend returned. He called RCMP to report Hayes missing. Both Hayes and the friend are experienced campers.

News of the accident hit hard in the newsroom of the Cape Breton Post where Hayes worked for 29 years as a reporter, editor and former city editor.

"I worked with Chris for more than 25 years and I can honestly say he truly loved his job,” said Steve MacInnis, newsroom reporter.

"News like this takes your breath away. There was plenty of disbelief along with an abundance of tears," added MacInnis, who said Hayes was a great writer and storyteller.

"He had a quick wit and dearly loved his native Cape Breton Island. He was not the kind of guy you could easily keep indoors as he had a passion for getting out and exploring the surroundings around him.”

Post publisher Anita DeLazzer described Hayes as a dedicated newsman who was always ready to provide a helping hand when needed.

“He was also well known and well respected in the community. He will be sadly missed by all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this sad time," she said.

Chris is survived by wife, Marlene, and sons, Richard and Robert.

Carl Fleming, the paper's managing editor, knew Hayes for only a short time but said Hayes was a real professional and extremely versatile in the newsroom.

“It quickly became obvious to me in the short time I knew him that Chris had a real passion for his job and our paper. We will miss the wisdom and pleasant demeanour he brought to the office.”

Funeral arrangements were incomplete as of Monday.

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