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

Young entrepreneur joins Uptown Urban Market in Port Alberni

Ayden Oickle grows and sells his own succulents

Newcomer Helen Poon declares intent to run for Port Alberni city council

Helen Poon has announced her intention to run for city council of… Continue reading

Foul play not suspected in man’s death in Chemainus

Long attempt made to revive unidentified person on the dock

Micro housing pitched for former school lot in Port Alberni

Project a model for poverty reduction, says SunRay Village Paradigm Foundation

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District considers cannabis use

Public will have say on new rules in September, before marijuana use becomes legal

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Canada’s team chasing elusive gold medal at women’s baseball World Cup

Canada, ranked No. 2 behind Japan, opens play Wednesday against No. 10 Hong Kong

Former B.C. detective gets 20 months in jail for kissing teen witnesses

James Fisher, formerly with Vancouver police department, pleaded guilty to three charges in June

Most Read