A sailor is believed to have gone overboard from a vessel returning to CFB Esquimalt.
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) issued a news release Tuesday after Master Sailor Duane Earle, from Winnipeg, Man. went missing Monday.
Earle was a boatswain deployed on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg. The vessel had been deployed to the Asia-Pacific region since September for operations PROJECTION and NEON, in which members conduct training, exercises and engagement with foreign navies.
Our hearts are broken 💔
Please keep @HMCSWinnipeg in your thoughts & prayers.
There are no words for the sorrow onboard…
— Amber Comisso (@cdnnavylady) December 15, 2020
Details are still undetermined, CAF said, but it’s believed Earle accidentally fell overboard in the early hours of Dec. 14 while the ship was 500 nautical miles west of San Francisco, Calif.
Earle wasn’t identified as missing until later that day at which point the HMCS Winnipeg turned around and began a search, assisted by a Cyclone helicopter. Ongoing search efforts continue with help from rescue centres in California, the Royal Canadian Air Force and assets from the United States Coast Guard.
This really hurts 💔 https://t.co/nLDm9zaQm2
— Royal Canadian Navy (@RoyalCanNavy) December 15, 2020
“Today marks a tragic turn of events after a year that has taken a large toll on many of our Canadian Armed Forces members and families,” Lieut. General Christopher Coates, commander for Canadian joint operations command said in a statement. “I am profoundly saddened by this accident and I want to express my deepest sympathies to the family, friends and loved ones of our missing sailor and I hope we will be able to provide you with some solace during this extremely difficult time.”
CAF says Earle’s family has been notified and his family is being supported.