Woman missing, man rescued in boat fire off Ladysmith

Update: A search continued Sunday for a woman who is missing after the boat she was on caught fire in the waters off Ladysmith.
Members of the RCMP’s underwater recovery team were at the scene on Saturday and again Sunday.

Police forensic specialists were going through the remains of the vessel, which had been burned to the waterline and towed to shore.

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The boat was not at a marina but moored out in the harbour. A man and woman had been living on the vessel, which is about 50 feet long.

When the fire broke out on Saturday morning, a man in this 60s was rescued from the vessel.

RCMP said the woman was not able to escape the fire.

A man who had met the couple said the woman was very caring towards her husband.

The Chris Craft motor yacht had previously been in Vancouver. It was in poor condition and arrived in Ladysmith a few weeks ago, he said.

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A woman is missing and a man was rescued after a boat they were on caught fire in the waters off Ladysmith early Saturday.

The search is continuing for the woman, RCMP said Saturday evening.

RCMP divers with the Underwater Recovery Team searched without success.

The fire was reported to police at 5:19 a.m. When police arrived, the Ladysmith Fire Department, and B.C. Emergency Health Services were already on hand. The 50-foot boat was fully engulfed in flames.

The operator of a small skiff reached the boat to rescue the man, police said.

“Tragically the second occupant of the boat, a woman in her 60s, was unable to escape the blaze,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, B.C. RCMP spokesperson.

“The man who had been rescued from the boat sustained what police believe to be non-life threatening injuries. He was taken to hospital by B.C. Emergency Health Services for medical attention.”

Ladysmith Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue towed the remains of the vessel to shore. The fire department put out the remains of the fire at Slag Point.

Roy Thiele, dock attendant at Ladysmith Harbour, said a couple had been living on the boat, which was burned to the waterline.

When Thiele woke about 5 a.m., he saw a big glow on the water. “I thought it was one of our docks on fire so I went down there and opened the gate to the fire department.”

The boat was “pretty much engulfed” by fire, he said.

Thiele saw the man from the boat when he arrived on shore. “He made it to the docks here so we helped him and he was conscious and physically fine.” An ambulance took the man to hospital.

Any witnesses who have not yet talked to police are asked to call Ladysmith RCMP at 250-245-2215.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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