Last evening, at about 10:45pm, the first of three callers contacted the Saanich Police about calls for help from the ocean. Saanich Police members were quickly dispatched to the shoreline to begin a search and the Rescue Coordination Centre was notified.
An extensive search was conducted by the Canadian and US Coast Guards, Victoria Police Marine Unit, Saanich Fire Department boat, RCMP Marine Unit, Oak Bay Police and Fire Departments and a Cormorant helicopter out of Comox.
One male was found by the Coast Guard at about 12:25am, clinging to Todd Rock near Todd island, off of Oak Bay. He was quickly taken to hospital suffering the effects of hypothermia. He has since been released to his family and is in good health. Unfortunately, the second male is still missing.
At first light this morning, Saanich Search and Rescue volunteers were activated. An extensive shoreline search was conducted from the area of Ten Mile Point all the way to Ogden Point. As well, an extensive air and ground search was again conducted.
It appears that the two 20 year old Saanich residents intended to camp last evening on one of the nearby islands to Victoria. They launched their canoe from Telegraph Bay Cove and were quickly swamped as they rounded the point. The two clung to a dry bag full of camping equipment.
Given the nature of this incident, Saanich Police Major Crimes Detectives have been assigned. Detectives have determined that alcohol and drugs are not felt to play a part in this incident. It does appear that neither male was wearing a personal floatation device, nor were any in the canoe.
Both families were quickly notified last evening and are being supported by the Greater Victoria Victim Services volunteers.
Saanich Police request that mariners and beach-goers keep watch for the missing male who is described as wearing a blue Umbro soccer zip up. As well, items that are missing include a blue fiberglass canoe, two wooden paddles and a neon green dry bag containing some camping equipment.
If you have any information about this incident, or come across any of the items as described, please contact the Saanich Police at 250-475-4321.