1 missing after empty rental boat found drifting off West Vancouver with keys in ignition

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A Cormorant helicopter, like the one in this file photo, was part of the search after an empty boat with the keys still in the ignition was found drifting in English Bay on Wednesday afternoon. (Brett Ruskin/CBC - image credit)
A Cormorant helicopter, like the one in this file photo, was part of the search after an empty boat with the keys still in the ignition was found drifting in English Bay on Wednesday afternoon. (Brett Ruskin/CBC - image credit)

A man is missing after an empty rental boat was found drifting off West Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, with the keys still in the ignition and the throttle all the way forward.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) said rescuers searched through the night for the missing person.

"We will be continuing the search this morning," said Sub-Lt. Wilson Ho, public affairs officer with the JRCC, early Thursday.

Later Thursday, Vancouver police identified the missing boater as a 46-year-old man from Surrey, B.C., adding that he had rented the boat from Granville Island around noon Wednesday and was supposed to return it by 3 p.m. that day.

When the man failed to return the boat, an investigation was launched. Police said he was travelling alone and bound for Bowen Island.

A Parks Canada staffer found the unmanned 17-foot fibreglass rental boat around 3:30 p.m. PT Wednesday near Point Atkinson in West Vancouver, Ho said. A mayday relay was broadcast to alert other boaters and a search was launched.


Four Canadian Coast Guard vessels, one Vancouver police boat, one Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue boat and one Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter were all called out to help.

"As soon as we had assets ready to go, we were out there searching for this missing person," Ho said.

Anyone with information about the missing person or who saw the boat on Wednesday is asked to call 911 or the JRCC at 250-413-8933.

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