Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for B.C. SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

The Spirit of Harrison boat has been used to save countless lives in one of the Lower Mainland’s busiest lakes since it went into service 25 years ago.

On Friday, the eight-metre vessel was stolen off the Kent Harrison Search and Rescue compound, ending up in a field in Chilliwack.

“I guess the one word that sums this up for me is ‘violated,’” SAR team manager Neil Brewer told Black Press Media Saturday morning.

“I was personally responsible for getting that vessel 25 years ago and so it has a personal connection or me.”

The vessel, which is stored on the team’s gated compound, had been seen heading west on Highway 1 in Chilliwack Friday night, shortly after it was stolen.

“Funny thing is, they stole it with the mast erected,” Brewer said. “When they were driving down the freeway they hit a bridge and broke the mast off. It was picked it up by a [SAR] member not realizing it was from the rescue boat.”

RCMP are investigating the theft, with no word on if the boat was damaged.

READ MORE: A year with Kent Harrison Search and Rescue

The Spirit of Harrison was taken out of service about a year ago, replaced by a larger boat, the Harrison Osprey. But Brewer said the boat, with an estimated value of $50,000 to $60,000, was still deployable and that the volunteer-based rescue team has plans to sell it.

“It’s been deployed literally hundreds of times, saved countless lives, and certainly has a huge emotional connection to many, many SAR volunteers who have trained on it,” Brewer said.

Third theft in three years for Agassiz-based rescue team

While the Spirit of Harrison has been recovered and is in RCMP custody, this isn’t the first time thieves have gotten away with the volunteer team’s equipment.

“This is the third time in two or three years,” Brewer said.

The first time, theives broke into the logistics trailer – assumably looking for ATVS, he said, but still took off with other equipment.

In another instance, a smaller 12-foot boat sitting on a trailer was taken off the compound. The boat and trailer were later found, but the engine had been removed.

Brewer said the vibrant Spirit of Harrison was the biggest piece of equipment to ever be stolen, being stored on an easily visible lot.

“So to steal a boat that size and that visible requires a lot of nerve.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: North Island Peewee Eagles unleash avalanche of goals against Peninsula in semi-final showdown

The two teams squared up on Sunday morning at the Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill.

North Island Seniors Housing Foundation takes the next step towards getting Trustee Road land

Seniors rejoice, Port Hardy council is very much in favour of helping… Continue reading

Port Hardy Volleyball club requests funding from Port Hardy council

The sport of Volleyball is alive and well in the North Island,… Continue reading

Should aquaculture programs be offered at North Island College in Port Hardy?

“I think it would be very timely to have an aquaculture program”

Island Health issues press release regarding Port Alice Health Centre service changes

Island Health will be hosting a community meeting in Port Alice Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in the rec centre.

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Three Island First Nations chiefs take government to court in health care dispute

Move comes after First Nations Health Authority dumps Vancouver Island service provider

Okanagan ski resort officials displeased with Family Day roll-out

From one peak of the Okanagan to the other, resort officials have raised concerns

Island fossil makes it to the top of the provincial list

Courtenay’s elasmosaur will be added to the official Provincial Symbols of British Columbia

B.C. high school robotics team ranked first in the world for programming

The Surrey team was also named tournament finalists at VEX Robotics Competition on Feb. 1

Man shot dead in front of Kamloops hotel may be case of mistaken identity: RCMP

Rex Gill, 44, was not previously known to Kamloops police unlike second shooting victim

Vancouver Island boys high school basketball bragging rights on the line

Oak Bay, Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Victoria host Island championships this weekend

New tutorial ‘Whales in our Waters’ launched by BC Ferries

A new tutorial has been launched for mariners and the general public about whales in the Salish Sea

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read