A Port Hardy fisherman who is believed to have fallen overboard in Fitz Hugh Sound has not been found and is presumed drowned, say RCMP.
Franklin Russ was last seen when he took over his watch at the helm of the Golden Ocean Feb. 21. The vessel was near the north end of Calvert Island, traveling southbound down the middle of Fitz Hugh Sound, approximately two miles from the nearest shore. At shift change, approximately four hours later and fifteen miles further south, near the south end of Calvert Island, the vessel skipper awoke to find Russ missing. Russ was last seen wearing a plaid work shirt and sweat pants and was believed to not be wearing a life jacket.
Four Canadian Coast Guard vessels, two military aircraft from CFB Comox, RCMP and local vessels all took part in the 14-hour search.
“It is with our most sincerest sympathies to the Russ family, that we regretfully believe that Franklin Russ is presumed to have drowned,” said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk of the RCMP. “The extremely cold water temperatures combined with the remote and uninhabited location, have resulted in an almost zero probability of survival for Franklin Russ. Next of kin were notified and appraised of the search efforts.
“In the remote chance that Franklin Russ survived or to assist searchers with the recovery of the deceased, we have included a photo of Franklin along with a clothing description,” added Moskaluk. “It is hoped that a recovery will be made, in efforts to bring closure to the family for their sudden and tragic loss.”
The Bella Bella RCMP Detachment and RCMP West Coast Marine Services are continuing their investigation.