The search for Master Sailor Duane Earle, from Winnipeg, has concluded. The Boatswain, described as a ‘sailor’s sailor’ was not found. (Courtesy Canadian Armed Forces)

The search for Master Sailor Duane Earle, from Winnipeg, has concluded. The Boatswain, described as a ‘sailor’s sailor’ was not found. (Courtesy Canadian Armed Forces)

Search called off for sailor who possibly fell overboard from navy ship en route to Esquimalt

Canadian Armed Forces’ search for Boatswain Duane Earle concluded Tuesday evening

The search for a sailor missing from a Canadian navy ship has been called off, and the vessel and crew are headed back to Esquimalt.

Master Sailor Duane Earle, 47, from Winnipeg, is believed to have fallen overboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Winnipeg in the early hours of Dec. 14 when the ship was 500 nautical miles west of San Francisco and on route to CFB Esquimalt.

Upon realizing that Earle was missing, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) vessel turned around and began a search with assistance from a Cyclone helicopter, rescue centres in California and assets from the United States Coast Guard. The Royal Canadian Air Force also assisted and in total, the search spanned roughly 2,000 nautical miles from both air and sea.

But around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday the search was concluded, with CAF reporting that Earle had not been found. CAF says his next of kin has been notified and is being offered support.

READ ALSO: Search continues for ‘sailor’s sailor’ presumed overboard from navy vessel returning to Esquimalt

“This decision was not taken lightly, however after extensive coverage of the search area we have not been able to locate him,” said a statement from Rear-Admiral Brian Santarpia, maritime component commander. “I would also like to thank our allies who were involved in the search for Master Sailor Earle.”

The HMCS Winnipeg, which has about 230 trained officers aboard, was returning to Esquimalt from a two-month deployment to the Asia-Pacific region for Operation PROJECTION and NEON, training and international engagement deployments.

Earle joined CAF in 1990 as a member of the naval reserve at HMCS Chippawa. He served various deployments in the years since and spent nearly 2,000 days at sea.

The ship’s commanding officer, Commander Mike Stefanson said it has been an extremely difficult couple of days for the ship’s company.

“We have completed a challenging deployment, in very uncertain times both at home and overseas, and we will continue to stand together through this incredibly sad time,” he said in a statement. “I would like to offer my sympathies to the family and friends of Master Sailor Earle. He will be sorely missed.”

CAF says it will conduct an investigation into the circumstances around Earle’s disappearance and more details will be released in the coming weeks.

READ ALSO: Families, spectators wave goodbye to Navy Task Force from Victoria shorelines


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CFB EsquimaltVictoria

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

Just Posted

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
NTC president calls for ‘massive change’ after Indigenous woman shot by police in Hitacu

“We need to get to the root of what is actually happening with the RCMP and our communities.”

Hotel Zed Tofino has won a Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Award. (Westerly file photo)
Hotel Zed Tofino wins commercial building award

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board holds virtual gala.

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Most Read