A U.S. man is recovering after being rescued in the waters off Vancouver Island, a day after officials called off the search.
The unnamed fisherman departed Washington state on Oct. 12, alongside another individual who remains missing. The men were due back three days later but failed to return and were reported missing this past Sunday.
On Thursday, the rescued man was spotted by Good Samaritans as he floated in a life raft, more than 110 kilometres northwest of Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point of the contiguous U.S.
The man was transported by the Canadian Coast Guard to hospital in Tofino, B.C., where he is in stable condition.
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Officials had called off the search on Wednesday after crews searched more than 36,000 square kilometres with no signs of the vessel or the men.
“Unfortunately, we were not able to locate anybody, any sort of life rafts, any sort of debris or anything in the water,” said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier earlier this week.
On Thursday, however, Strohmaier provided a new update, calling the rescue “an unbelievable stroke of luck.”
“It’s definitely a true miracle,” he said, adding that although the life raft is bright orange, it can still be hard to spot in the open ocean, where the human eye can only see about 16 kilometres in the water.
“They were just lucky enough (to see it) but also just the fact that those Good Samaritans were able to have the wherewithal to go and investigate and stop and see that raft,” he said.
The rescued man was taken aboard the Good Samaritan’s boat and was later transferred to the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape Ann.
The second individual, and the fishing vessel, named Evening, remain missing. The U.S. Coast Guard says the incident remains under investigation.
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