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Fishermen who died were all from Vancouver Island

The B.C. Coroners Service has named the three fishermen who died when a commercial fishboat capsized near Tofino on Saturday.
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A Buffalo aircraft from CFB Comox participated in the search off Tofino.

The B.C. Coroners Service has named the three fishermen who died when a commercial fishboat capsized near Tofino on Saturday.

The three men, crew members of the commercial fish dragger Caledonian, were skipper Wesley Hegglund, 55, of Duncan; engineer Keith Edward Standing, 48, of Port Alberni; and deckhand Doug White, 41, also of Port Alberni.

The boat was about 55 kilometres west of Estevan Point, north of Tofino, when it capsized and eventually sank, the coroners service said.

The three men’s bodies were recovered by the Canadian Coast Guard over the next 18 hours. All were pronounced dead at the scene.

Early indications suggested the three men who died were not wearing life-jackets, said navy Lt. Nicole Murillo with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

A fourth crew member survived. After a search by three Canadian Coast Guard vessels, a helicopter and several other fishing vessels in the area, the man was rescued Sunday by the coast guard. He was taken aboard the MS Statendam, a Holland America cruise ship in the area bound for Victoria, and treated for mild hypothermia, said coast guard spokesman Dan Bate. The rescued man was wearing a personal flotation device, he said.

The B.C. Coroners Service, RCMP and the Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate the deaths.

The boat was owned by Pacific Seafood, a U.S.-based company.

A commercial vessel sinking in B.C. waters with multiple fatalities is a rare occurrence, Bate said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the Caledonian to capsize and sink, but Murillo said it’s believed the men were bringing in a fishing net when the boat began to list.

Strong winds were recorded Saturday evening in the area where the boat was fishing, reaching 30 to 50 kilometres per hour, said Environment Canada meteorologist Louis Kohanyi.

— With files from the Province and The Canadian Press