Search for three missing men after boat sinks near Tofino

Eric Plummer, June 15, 2018

The Canadian Coast Guard and dozens of boats are searching the waters by Tofino for three missing men. (File photo)

Tofino, BC — 

Dozens of vessels are searching the waters off of Tofino for three men, after a boat sank early in the morning.

Rescue efforts began at approximately 3 a.m. when multiple 911 calls reported an incident in the Duffin Cove area.

“People from the shore could hear calls for help,” said Katelyn Moores, a spokesperson for the Joint Rescue coordination Centre in Victoria.

The Coast Guard dispatched two boats for the search, including one stationed in Tofino, plus a helicopter. A Cormorant helicopter came from the Royal Canadian Air Force base in Comox to scan the area. The Tofino RCMP are also supporting the effort, as are several other boats from Tofino.

“I think our last count was 21 vessels,” said Moores of the local support on the scene.     

A rescue boat pulled one person from the water at approximately 3:30 a.m., and another person swam ashore in Duffin Cove, who was located at 4:20 a.m., said Moores. Both of these people were found without lifejackets and taken to the Tofino hospital.

At 8:30 a.m. Nora Martin was anxiously awaiting any news at the Tofino dock. She said the two people who made it ashore are tourists, but others from the sunken boat are her family members.

“There’s a whole bunch of us waiting at Whiskey Dock,” said Martin. “There’s a search and rescue helicopter flying around.”

It’s currently unclear why the five were on the water in the early morning hours Friday. Martin said the vessel is an aluminum boat normally used for fishing with an outboard motor.

“We know that it did sink,” said Moores of the missing boat.

The Coast Guard has defined the search area to 41 square kilometres.

“Search conditions are good,” noted Moores of the sunny weather with low wind. “We’re thankful for everyone who is assisting in the search.”