This morning some Protection Island residents were checking the water by their properties, looking for a missing man.
“Expecting something but there’s been nothing on the beach. If there’s anything out there it usually comes up to the dock or against that dock,” said Harry Wilson, a Protection Island resident.
Gus Gatter, who lives on a boat, says he called the RCMP Monday night about a couple fighting on a nearby boat. He says he was worried because it was more intense than usual. About 40 minutes later, during a call back from police, he heard both the woman and the man in the water calling for help. Police launched a response but Gatter says the cries for help quickly went silent.
Police say they eventually pulled the woman from the water and took her to shore to be transported to hospital.
“She was extremely hypothermic and intoxicated as well which kind of compounded the issue,” said Const. Gary O’Brien Tuesday.
An extensive search for the man was launched that saw boats on the water including a hovercraft and an armed forces helicopter in the sky that searched for hours.
Those living nearby said fighting between the pair had been common in recent months and police had attended the boat before.
The boat started mooring at a buoy near Protection Island last summer and several months later the woman arrived and the fights began.
“He was yelling and swearing and screaming. [I] couldn’t really tell what he was saying and they have since towed that boat away,” said Wilson.
Called the Honu Moku, authorities towed it and parked it along Nanaimo’s waterfront.
It’s not clear how the pair who haven’t been identified, the woman aged 58, the man, aged 59, ended up in the water but police say there is nothing to indicate at this time that criminality is involved.