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 turned over to RCMP

“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

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is reminding visitors that all dogs must be leashed at all times. (Westerly file photo)
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve urges dog owners to show respect by leashing their pets

“As Coastal Stewards, we appreciate seeing you with your pets on leashes.”

West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni received some good news about an expansion to its emergency department on Jan. 15, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

A Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation guardian took this photo of dozens of vehicles parked along a forest service road in the Kennedy watershed. (Submitted photo)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District looks at enforcement of illegal camping

ACRD currently does not have an existing bylaw service to tackle the issue

Ucluelet local Geoff Johnson snapped this photo of a Risso’s dolphin that washed up near Chesterman Beach in Tofino on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Geoff Johnson photo)
Washed up Risso’s dolphin offers glimpse into “whole other world” near Tofino

“It’s like a UFO crash landed and you can come look at it.”

(B.C. government)
POLL QUESTION: Would you report a neighbour in breach of COVID-19 regulations?

Would you report a neighbour in breach of COVID-19 regulations? READ MORE:… Continue reading

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship, speaks to an RCMP officer outside of Harvest Ministries on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna church fined 2nd time for violating public health order

Harvest Ministries in Kelowna has previously said they will fight the tickets in court

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hiker among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons was appointed to the NDP cabinet as minister of social development and poverty reduction after the October 2020 B.C. election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. job training fund increased for developmentally disabled

COVID-19 has affected 1,100 ‘precariously employed’ people

A Sooke woman is speaking up after she was almost tricked by a lottery scam, claiming she had won $950,000 with Set for Life Lottery. (File Photo)
‘I wanted it to be true so badly’: Sooke senior narrowly avoids lottery scam

88-year-old received letter stating she had won $950,000

B.C. driver’s licence and identity cards incorporate medical services, but the passport option for land crossings is being phased out. (B.C. government)
B.C. abandons border ID cards built into driver’s licence

$35 option costing ICBC millions as demand dwindles

Submitted photo of Town Park C Block apartment fire.
Apartment fire in Port Hardy forces residents to jump from building

‘Multiple people were transported to the hospital with injuries from falling’

Most Read