Discovery of an unattended vehicle aboard a B.C. Ferry in Nanaimo triggered and sea and land search for its driver Wednesday, Oct. 13. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Discovery of an unattended vehicle aboard a B.C. Ferry in Nanaimo triggered and sea and land search for its driver Wednesday, Oct. 13. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Missing passenger stalls B.C. Ferries sailing from Nanaimo

RCMP, Coast Guard search Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay ferry route, person has been found

Departure of a B.C. Ferries vessel was delayed for more than an hour and a half after crew discovered an unattended car after the ship docked in Nanaimo this morning.

The Queen of Oak Bay had completed its first sailing of the day from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay on Wednesday, Oct. 13, and was unloading at the Departure Bay ferry terminal when the vehicle was found, triggering a land and sea search by Nanaimo RCMP, Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, which searched the waters in Departure Bay and the ferry’s route on the Strait of Georgia.

The missing passenger was found ashore on the other side of the strait and was safe, according to Nanaimo RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien.

“When the ferry docked in Nanaimo there was found an abandoned vehicle, which caused concern for the ferries,” O’Brien said. “We attended and, along with B.C. Ferries, conducted a search of the ferry interior … They were checking CCTV cameras as well.”

Police also contacted the Canadian Coast Guard and the RCMP marine unit in Nanaimo to search the waters, O’Brien said, in case the person had fallen overboard.

“Information on the vehicle was forwarded to West Vancouver Police Department. A short time later our officers were advised the person in question, a woman in her early 50s, was found in distress on their side and was transported to hospital for assessment … She’s getting the help she needs,” O’Brien said.

The Queen of Oak Bay, scheduled to depart Nanaimo at 8:25 a.m., loaded and left for Horseshoe Bay at 10:09 a.m.

B.C. Ferries, in a service notice, described the delay as a security incident and apologized to travellers for any inconvenience caused by the sailing delay.

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