Local boaters joined a search effort Friday for three missing mariners whose vessel capsized near Tofino around 3 a.m. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Local boaters joined a search effort Friday for three missing mariners whose vessel capsized near Tofino around 3 a.m. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Search for mariners who capsized near Tofino now missing persons case

“Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the missing.”

The search for three missing mariners whose vessel capsized near Tofino around 3 a.m. Friday has been reduced and the file has been handed over to local RCMP as a missing person’s case, according to Victoria’s Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

“After over 18 hours of extensive air, land and waterborne searching for three individuals reported missing after their vessel sank in the early morning off Duffin Cove in Tofino, on June 15th, JRCC Victoria has called a Search Reduction,” read a statement from the JRCC around 9:30 p.m. Friday.

“JRCC thanks the countless volunteers in kayaks and other small private vessels, and on the ground from the communities surrounding the search area, as well all our partner organizations, the CCG, RCM-SAR, Parks Canada, G-SAR, Emergency Management B.C., RCMP, Emergency Health Services, who assisted in the search. The case has been handed over to the RCMP as a missing person’s case. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the missing.”

Tofino RCMP, Search and Rescue crews, 19 Wing Comox, the RCMP’s West Coast Marine Section and Underwater Recovery Team have been searching a roughly 41-square kilometre radius around Tofino after multiple 911 calls came in from West Coast residents who had heard calls for help.

Two people were located, one in the water and one who had swam ashore. Both stated three other people had been in the boat with them.

Westcoast Inland Search and Rescue Manager Garth Cameron said his team was called to the search around 3:30 a.m.

“It’s a hasty search where you get boats on the water instantly. Sooner the better. Put boots on the ground, sooner the better,” Cameron told the Westerly News. “It’s a shore search, it’s a ground search, it’s a bush search and it’s a hasty search.”

Cameron held an impromptu press conference with reporters at Tofino’s First Street Dock around 1 p.m. and said the search had been extensive.

“The surrounding islands have been searched, on the shore, in the sands, on the rocks, the crevices. It’s been a very busy morning,” he said. “You never lose hope. You never give up and you give 110 per cent of your effort all the time.”

He said the West Coast came together quickly with commercial operators joining search and rescue crews on the ocean.

“When tragedy does happen in this community, it has always come together,” he said. “It’s a huge snowball effect and the town always supports each other.”

He added the Tla-o-qui-aht and Ahousaht First Nations responded immediately.

“When a call for help comes, regardless of the time, their response time is minutes. It’s a very close knit community here on the Coast,” he said. “I know, without a doubt and in my heart of hearts, that they responded within minutes and they had people on the water.”

Cameron, who has lived in Tofino for 36 years, said it is not uncommon for a vessel to be out at night and added that he knows the missing men.

“It’s a difficult day. But, I’m not the only one that has personal connections with the members that are missing,” he said.

Tofino mayor Josie Osborne remained hopeful when she spoke to the Westerly around noon Friday.

“There’s nothing that’s ever easy about this. The connection that we have as a coastal community to the ocean is one that is deep and, when things like this happen, sometimes they have very, very, tragic outcomes. We’re really hoping for the best and we’ll see what the day brings,” she said.

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

Just Posted

A BC Hydro outage is affecting nearly 4000 customers in Kitimat. The cause of the outage is under investigation. (Screenshot/BC Hydro Outage Map)
Cable fault responsible for Kitimat power outage, BC Hydro says

At its peak, the BC Hydro power outage affected near 4,000 customers

Graph showing the 2020 passenger totals at the Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace. (Submitted/Northwest Regional Airport)
New year brings an end to a turbulent 2020 at Northwest Regional Airport

Passenger totals half of what they were in 2019

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

The leisure pool at the Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre will be open Thursday and closed Friday for maintenance, the DoK said in an updated Facebook post Thursday (Jan. 14). (Kitimat Leisure Services photo)
UPDATE: Leisure pool at Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre open Thursday, closed Friday

The leisure pool will be closed Friday (Jan. 15) for maintenance due to a mechanical issue

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage addresses the attendees while Tom Olsen, Managing Director of the Canadian Energy Centre, looks on at a press conference at SAIT in Calgary on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Fulmes
‘Morally and ethically wrong:’ Court to hear challenge to Alberta coal policy removal

At least 9 interveners will seek to join a rancher’s request for a judicial review of Alberta’s decision

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Most Read