One person is dead, one is missing and another is reportedly in good physical condition after a diving accident just before 3 p.m. Friday near Snake Island, close to the ferry terminal at Departure Bay.
On Friday night, the Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre handed its search for the missing diver over to Nanaimo RCMP as a missing person case. The search did not resume Saturday because the water is too deep, RCMP say. “The level of depth is far too deep for our divers or coast guard divers to do safely,” Nanaimo RCMP Sgt. Sheryl Armstrong said. “It’s a non-criminal matter so it will be turned over to the coroners office.”
The response to a call for help was fast and large, said Brandon Austin, a search mission co-ordinator with the rescue centre.
A call went out to the rescue co-ordination centre at 2:54 p.m. Within 12 minutes a coast guard boat was on the scene, said Lt. Paul Pendergast of the rescue centre.
The W.E. Ricker fisheries research boat, the Search and Rescue No. 27 volunteer fast response boat, the Cape Cockburn motorized lifeboat out of French Creek, the RCMP catamaran Higgitt, a Buffalo fixed-wing aircraft out of 442 Squadron in Comox, and a Sea King helicopter out of 443 squadron, in Comox, all responded.
Rescuers suspended their search about 6:30 p.m. and handed the case to the RCMP.
All three divers were visiting from the United States.
Nanaimo RCMP confirmed late Friday that one person was dead, and one person — the only known survivor — was brought to shore and is in good condition.
On Friday night that person was being interviewed by investigators.
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