Man feared drowned after falling off boat near Nanaimo

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RCMP, the Canadian Coast Guard and Nanaimo Search and Rescue are searching the waters off Nanaimo for a man presumed to have drowned.

Police received a report of a man and a woman falling into the water near Commercial Bay, off of Newcastle Island around 8:40 p.m. on April 11, according to an RCMP media release.

RCMP officers were taken to the location by a Nanaimo Port Authority vessel, where they found the woman clinging to a rope tied to an anchored sailboat. The woman was extremely hypothermic and intoxicated, according to the release. She was lifted onto the Port Authority boat and then taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Police said the missing man is believed to be her 59-year-old partner, who resided with her on the sailboat. A search of their vessel, shoreline and a ping of his cell phone proved negative. Throughout the evening, the Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft and a Search and Rescue helicopter, along with the Port Authority vessel and ground crews extensively searched the waters and shoreline, but did not find the man.

The search continued the next day (April 12), with two RCMP Marine Section vessels and the RCMP Dive Team scouring the waters off the Nanaimo shoreline.

“There is nothing to indicate at this time that criminality is involved and investigators are working on the premise that the missing man fell into the water and presumably drowned,” said Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

The missing man was wearing a blue and black shirt, blue jeans and either runners or flip-flops, RCMP said.

Anyone with information on this incident can call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file #2022-12274.

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