Port Alberni RCMP are investigating after a man went missing while boating in the Alberni Inlet.
On Monday, Aug. 16, RMCP were advised of a missing person in the remote location of Rainy Bay, between Port Alberni and Bamfield. A 66-year-old man was unaccounted for after leaving camp to get cell service on his boat. His boat was later spotted drifting in the water with no one in it.
Peter Mieras, the owner of Rendezvous Dive Adventures in Rainy Bay, said he and his wife heard the “heavy sound” of a search and rescue helicopter shortly after noon on Aug. 16.
“We didn’t think much of it in the beginning, but then we saw the RCMP boat come into the bay,” he said.
Mieras and his wife learned that a search effort was underway and hopped into their own skiff to assist.
“We live in this bay, we know every nook and cranny,” said Mieras. “There was quite a bit of manpower put into [the search].”
A spokesperson with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre confirmed that a search was launched after the boat was located drifting in the bay with no one on board. The search has had “negative results” so far.
A CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 19 Wing Comox took part in the initial search, as well as two RCMP vessels, the Bamfield Coast Guard and some other volunteer vessels from the area.
Mieras said he has since learned that the drifting boat belonged to a friend, although Mieras did not want to share any details about the identity of the missing person out of respect for their loved ones.
“We’re very sad to learn that we most likely lost a friend of ours in a tragic accident,” said Mieras.
According to RCMP, the missing man has an address in the Lower Mainland, but has family ties to the Port Alberni area. His next of kin have been advised of the situation. RCMP will not be disclosing his identity at this time.
Port Alberni RCMP are continuing the investigation with support from West Coast Marine and the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team.