A search for a missing kayaker that started near Union Bay in the early hours of Sunday, Dec. continued into the afternoon.
RCMP received a call at approximately 12:40 a.m. that a kayaker whose vessel had overturned had failed to come ashore.
“Two young men [23 years old, according to RCMP] from the Comox Valley had planned to go camping on Tree Island,” said Paul Berry of the Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue. “They parked here at Union Bay and set off with their kayaks. No long after they left, something occurred and they ended up in the water. One was able to swim to shore at Union Point… and the other has failed to return to shore.”
The kayaker who made it to shore walked to the highway and flagged down a passing vehicle.
Berry confirmed that the missing kayaker was not wearing a personal flotation device (i.e. life-jacket).
“The Coast Guard has recovered both kayaks. They were recovered in the Comox Bar area, so north of the tip of Denman Island,” said Berry.
The search party includes four ground search teams, the Royal Canadian Marine SAR, Canadian Coast Guard and Comox 442 Squadron are all involved in the search.
“This is a Coast Guard operation, so we are supporting them,” Berry said, from the CVGSAR headquarters at the Union Bay boat launch, where the kayakers entered the water. Ground search and rescue teams from Port Alberni, Campbell River and Parksville are also involved in the search.
Ground Search and Rescue teams were taken out to Tree Island during the night and a thorough search was conducted, to no avail.
Berry added that a king tide has hampered the search.
“It’s the highest tide of the year,” he said.
1:45 p.m. UPDATE –
The search for the missing kayaker will continue with a dive team.
“We have the dive team on scene and they are now conducting an underwater search,” said Paul Berry of Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue. “The search being conducted by Coast Guard and military has been suspended, and it has been turned over to the RCMP. An underwater search has been initiated.”