Search continues for missing Ahousaht fisherman near Tofino

Richard Amos has not been seen since he went out fishing in a canoe around 11 a.m. on Sunday.

The search for an Ahousaht fisherman who went missing on Sunday afternoon continued on Friday.

Richard Amos has not been seen since he went out fishing in a canoe around 11 a.m. on Sunday. He was only expected to be gone for one hour.

Over 150 volunteers have participated in the search so far, with assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard and RCMP, according to the Ahousaht First Nation’s Manager of Emergency Services, and Amos’ uncle, Curtis Dick.

Dick said Amos is approximately 24 years old and his family is grateful to all the volunteers who have supported the search efforts.

Four vessels were on the water Friday morning and nine volunteers were hiking around local shorelines, according to Dick who said the search has had as many as 80 volunteers and 16 vessels participating in a single day.

He said volunteers have searched throughout Clayoquot Sound from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday, covering areas around Vargas Island, Cypress Bay, Bedwell Sound, Millar Channel, Siwash Cove, Blunden Island and and Bartlett Island.

“We’ve had a great number of people respond…All the lands in and around those areas have all been searched very thoroughly,” he said adding neighbouring communities have assisted the search, including the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, which is currently searching for three missing fishermen whose vessel capsized on June 15.

“Even though they’re going through their own tough times, they’ve still been able to lend support,” Dick said of the Tla-o-qui-aht.

He added that it has become a given on the West Coast that neighbouring communities immediately step up to help each other.

“We’ll offer support to any other communities as well too, just as they will with us,” he said. “The family ties that we have with other communities is always first and foremost. Regardless of your job, or title, we just set everything aside and go and support wherever we can and whenever we can.”

Dick said a community dinner has been held each night for family members and search teams. He said Amos’ father flew in from Alberta and has been assisting search crews all week and that Amos’ mother is expected to arrive in Ahousaht from Kitimat on Friday night.

“There’s always going to be hope,” he said. “We’re making the best of what we can with our search efforts right now at this time and that’s all we can give our family members and the family members that are coming down.”

Anyone willing to assist with the search is encouraged to contact Ahousaht’s Emergency Operations Centre at 250-670-9566.

“We’re still very active,” Dick said adding anyone searching must ensure they do so safely. “Be aware of your surroundings. Wear a PFD [Personal Flotation Device.] Make a plan and have radio communication with somebody at all times. Whether you’re in a canoe or a speedboat, have a plan in place before you leave…Be safe in what you’re doing.”

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