A 40-year-old Courtenay woman is dead and a 44-year-old Courtenay man was brought to hospital after a sailboat ran aground Monday afternoon near Argyle Road in Union Bay.
Comox Valley RCMP along with a Cormorant crew from CFB Comox assisted with the 30-foot sailboat that listed then settled upon beach rocks with two occupants shortly after 3 p.m.
Capt. Trevor Reid, 19 Wing public affairs officer, confirmed Search and Rescue Technicians were dropped on the beach to assess the situation and found one man in the water who was brought to shore and transferred to RCMP.
A woman was found in the water near the boat shortly thereafter.
Resident Jamie McCue said the sailboat’s motor was still running when the helicopter arrived on scene.
“There were two rescue guys looking around, and about five to 10 minutes passed before a guy popped up in the water,” he explained. “They dragged him to shore and the RCMP took him away.”
Witness Lia Sommer said she saw the boat circling in the water, and then saw it beached on the rocks.
She noted after the man was handcuffed on the beach by police, another 15 to 20 minutes passed before investigators found the woman.
“She was just floating in the water,” she added and explained paramedics performed CPR on her for some time before placing her inside an ambulance.
McCue said the water was calm, there was no large debris in the area or strong wind at the time.
“It was a nice winter day,” he noted, and said he has previously seen the sailboat in the Comox area and believes the man may have lived on the boat.
RCMP note both individuals were transported by ambulance to St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox. The woman was pronounced dead at the hospital. The man was released and is not in police custody.
The names of the man and woman are not being released at this time at the request of their families.