Body of man wearing kayaking gear found at Gonzales Beach

The body of a man wearing kayaking gear was discovered on Gonzales Beach around 3 p.m. Tuesday, near the 1800-block of Crescent Road.

Police tape blocked off three access points to the beach as officers searched for clues.

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Amid strong winds and rain, a search team with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue scoured the water in case there was a second kayaker. A Canadian Coast Guard helicopter hovered over the area to help with the search. A second person was not found.

The man was identified and his car was located at the Oak Bay Marina, which is where the kayak entered the water, said Jeff Olsson, maritime search and rescue co-ordinator at the Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre. It’s believed the man started kayaking sometime on Monday, Olsson said.

The kayak has not been recovered. The man was wearing kayak gear and a spray deck, which prevents water from entering the boat. It is unclear if the man was wearing a life jacket.

Officers also searched a patch of long grass behind a house, just steps away from Gonzales Beach.

Police have not released the person’s identity. The B.C. Coroners Service has been notified.

Monday saw gale force winds and heavy rain sweep across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

On Tuesday, police and search and rescue volunteers recovered a kayaker’s body from the Capilano River in North Vancouver, a day after he was reported to be in distress.

People should be mindful of the conditions before they enter the water, Olsson said, and have a plan so that someone knows to alert rescuers if their friend or loved one is overdue.

“It was gale force winds and strong seas so people need to work within their abilities,” he said.

In 2002, a Victoria man in his 40s drowned when his rented kayak overturned in rough waters off Gonzales Bay. A man kayaking alongside him also went into the water but was rescued by a nearby whale watching boat.
 

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