A desperate search is underway in the Pacific Ocean for a Winnipegger who has gone missing during a naval deployment.
Missing is Master Sailor Duane Earle, a Boatswain, from Winnipeg, who was onboard the HMCS Winnipeg in the sea west of San Francisco.
The Department of National Defence says in a release that details are still being determined, but it is believed he accidentally fell overboard very early on December 14, while the ship was approximately 500 nautical miles west of San Francisco, California, en route back to Esquimalt after being deployed to the Asia-Pacific region on Operations PROJECTION and NEON.
The DND says that MS Earle was not identified as missing until later in the day, at which point HMCS Winnipeg turned back along its route and commenced a search, along with its embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter. The search effort is being coordinated by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Alameda County, California and includes Royal Canadian Air Force and United States Coast Guard assets.
“We are dedicating all available resources to search for Master Sailor Duane Earle in hopes of bringing him home," says Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.
"During these difficult times, I keep his family and friends in my thoughts. Each and every day, Canadian Armed Forces members across the country put service to Canada ahead of thoughts of their own safety. The entire Defence Team will be there for his family during these challenging times.”
We are dedicating all available resources to search for Master Sailor Duane Earle, who went overboard, in hopes of bringing him home. During these difficult times, I keep his family & friends in my thoughts. pic.twitter.com/WTRdcauHWS— Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan) December 15, 2020
MS Earle’s next of kin have been notified and the CAF is providing his family with the support needed to help them through this difficult time.
"Our thoughts are with the family, friends and loved ones of our missing shipmate, Master Sailor Duane Earl," says Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander, Royal Canadian Navy. "With this happening so close to the end of this deployment and with the Holiday Season looming, it’s simply devastating and is felt across our extended naval family.”
The CAF will conduct an investigation into the circumstances of how the member went missing.
More details will be released in the near future.