A fisherman is presumed to have drowned after a Prince Rupert-based fishing boat capsized three miles off Cape Lazo.
The coast guard received a call at approximately 4 p.m. on March 6 that one of the boats involved in the herring fishery near Comox had capsized then sunk.
There were five crew members aboard the 17-metre Miss Cory from Prince Rupert. Four of crew were rescued by nearby fishing vessels but another man is still missing.
“As we understand it, the boat started to list while they were netting fish with this other vessel that recovered the [four] people. They started to list, one person went below into the engine room to see what was going on and the boat quickly capsized and sank out of sight,” said Jeff Olsson, maritime search and rescue coordinator with the coast guard.
The herring fishery had recently opened off Cape Lazo, and there were dozens of boats in the area when the boat sank. A coast guard vessel was also on scene attending the fishery, and found the debris field left by the vessel. A search and rescue helicopter from Comox joined the search within 30 minutes.
“The missing man was believed to have been wearing a flotation, so if he had managed to get out of the vessel, we would have found him fairly quickly,” Olsson said.
Despite the good weather search and rescue crews could not locate the man, and the ended the search once they lost daylight. The boat was too deep for divers to be called in for the search.
Comox Valley RCMP issued a press release on at 2 p.m. on March 7, stating that the man is presumed dead.
“This is a tragic situation, and our thoughts are with the family of the missing crew member,” said Corporal Jason Jenkins, of Comox Valley RCMP. Police have notified his family.
With files from the Comox Valley Echo.