Search for missing rower called off

PORT HARDY—Man attempting solo voyage from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy not found; missing person case goes to RCMP.

PORT HARDY—The search for a missing boater in the waters north of Port Hardy was called off late Tuesday afternoon after four days, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria announced.

The man, who is more than 70 years old, was attempting a solo journey from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy in a small rowboat.

He was last seen departing Aristazabal Island, approximately 140 miles north of Port Hardy, on July 11.

The man has not checked in with his family, and searchers found no sign of the rower or his vessel in the four days of searching.

“That (search) area’s been saturated heavily,” said Cpt. Ray Jacobson of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre. “It’ll be turned over to the RCMP as a missing person case now.”

On Saturday, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron initiated a search of the vast stretch of water and coastline north of Vancouver Island in an attempt to locate the boater.

The search was overseen by Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria and included a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter and CC-115 Buffalo airplane as well as three Canadian Coast Guard ships and two rescue boats.

Members of Port McNeill’s Civil Air Search and Rescue unit, including pilot Bill Velie, were also involved, searching the smaller islands of the straits and serving as spotters on the military aircraft working north of the Island.

Any members of the public who were in the area north of Vancouver Island since 11 July and have seen this man or his rowboat, or who have any related information, are requested to call Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (Victoria) at 1-800-567-5111 or Prince Rupert RCMP at 250-627-0700.