Masset RCMP have launched a search for a 66 year old male from Courtenay after his partner was rescued in Tian Bay, Haida Gwaii Sunday June 5th.
Preliminary information received at this time indicates that the couple was travelling from Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii by boat possibly around Monday May 30th, when they decided to stop along the North west side of the island. They anchored their main vessel in Otard Bay and took a smaller aluminum skiff into Tian Bay when the boat overturned and both were thrown into the water. Neither was wearing the life jackets that were on board at the time.
It appears the 62 year old woman held on to the overturned boat; however the 66 year old male was unable to and he floated away. Eventually the woman drifted closer to shore and swam into Tian Bay south of Frederick Island on the West Coast of Haida Gwaii, where she managed to start a fire and begin the wait for rescue.
Early Sunday morning (June 5, 2011) a fishing vessel spotted a fire and a possible flare and contacted the Canadian Coast Guard. A rescue was launched with the assistance of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre out of Victoria. By early afternoon search and rescue crews were on shore with the woman and she was airlifted into a Coast Guard helicopter and transported to Queen Charlotte City for medical assessment.
The 62 year old woman told rescuers and police that her partner was still missing and efforts are underway to find him. He is described as a 66 year old Caucasian male with brown hair, blue eyes, 178 cm tall (5’10”) 70 kgs (154 pounds), last seen wearing a black leather jacket and hiking boots. West Coast Marine Services are enroute to the area along with divers from the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team (URT).
The woman is described as in good condition and police are working with her to determine exactly when the incident occurred and just how long she may have been waiting to be rescued. Police have been in touch with the couples’ families.
Masset RCMP has also confirmed that no missing person’s reports were filed.