UPDATE: Canoe found, but Ahousaht fisherman still missing near Tofino

Volunteers are looking for a man who left Ahousaht in a canoe around 11 a.m. Sunday to go fishing.

Victoria’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre has scaled back its search for an Ahousaht fisherman who went missing near Flores Island on Sunday.

“After an extensive 2 day search for the missing canoeist off Tofino, the JRCC has called a search reduction and handed this case to Ahousaht RCMP as a missing persons case,” the JRCC said in a statement Monday night. “The Ahousaht Emergency Operations Centre is continuing the search with local vessels and Ground SAR teams. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the missing.”

The man had left Ahousaht in a canoe to go fishing around 11 a.m. Sunday morning and was only expected to be gone for one hour, according to the JRCC.

The Centre released a statement on Monday afternoon stating it had tasked Canadian Coast Guard vessels Cape Anne and Tofino 1 as well as a Cormorant helicopter from 442 Squadron to respond to the situation around 4 p.m. on Sunday and that the man’s canoe was found near Shot Islets.

“Multiple local vessels have also been assisting in the search, including numerous resources from Ahousaht. Local RCMP are also assisting and have a helicopter on scene,” the statement reads. “Yesterday, the canoe was located in the search area at approximately 4 Nautical Miles South of Ahousaht near Shot Islets in the Bartlett Island Chain. This morning, the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Tanu arrived on scene and has joined the other assets in the search effort. The search continues for the missing person.”

Local volunteer efforts to find the man continue as volunteer boaters and hikers are combing the waters and shorelines around Flores Island and Vargas Island alongside the Tofino and Ahousaht RCMP detachments.

Anyone able to assist the search should immediately contact Ahousaht’s Emergency Operations Centre at 250-670-9566 or reach out to MV Wezakwaan on VHF channel 71.

“We are looking for more volunteers,” Carol Thomas told the Westerly News from Ahousaht’s Emergency Operations Centre on Monday morning. “The more eyes the better…We are reaching out for help.”

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