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Man dead after yacht sinking near Discovery Island

Four Americans, including two teenage girls, were rescued after the 40-foot yacht sank
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CCGS Cape Calvert was one of the vessels that responded to the mayday call. Via Department of Fisheries and Oceans

One of four people plucked from the ocean after a 40-foot yacht sank south of Discovery Island last Friday is dead, says the B.C. Coroners Service.

Spokesperson Ryan Panton said the coroners service is investigating the incident, which occurred about three nautical miles south of Discovery Island, east of Oak Bay, but could not reveal any additional details.

Three individuals and a dog in a 10-foot dinghy were located by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter from Port Angeles, two hours after the initial mayday call was received by the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre at around 6 p.m. from the pleasure craft.

A fourth person was spotted in the water by a CH-149 Cormorant at around 9 p.m., about one nautical mile from the dinghy in the middle of the yacht’s debris field.

The man, who was “found to be unresponsive upon arrival,” was recovered by a Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter crew, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Clark, adding that all four were U.S. citizens.

Clark said the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter was already airborne for scheduled operations and was diverted for the response.

Multiple sea and air units responded to the mayday call, including two aircraft based out of 19 Wing Comox — a CC-138 Hercules and a CH-149 Cormorant. Marine vessels deployed included the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Cape Calvert and 33 Oak Bay, a coast guard auxiliary vessel.

The U.S. Coast Guard said the dinghy contained two teenage girls and an adult woman who were all showing signs of hypothermia and were airlifted to Victoria General Hospital.

The dog was picked up by a Canadian Coast Guard vessel shortly after.

The yacht, named A Little Serenity, was registered in Kenmore, Washington, a suburb northeast of Seattle.

The U.S. Coast Guard said the sea at the time of the incident was swelling with five-foot waves and windspeeds were at 23 mph.

mjlo@timescolonist.com