Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for B.C. SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

The Spirit of Harrison boat has been used to save countless lives in one of the Lower Mainland’s busiest lakes since it went into service 25 years ago.

On Friday, the eight-metre vessel was stolen off the Kent Harrison Search and Rescue compound, ending up in a field in Chilliwack.

“I guess the one word that sums this up for me is ‘violated,’” SAR team manager Neil Brewer told Black Press Media Saturday morning.

“I was personally responsible for getting that vessel 25 years ago and so it has a personal connection or me.”

The vessel, which is stored on the team’s gated compound, had been seen heading west on Highway 1 in Chilliwack Friday night, shortly after it was stolen.

“Funny thing is, they stole it with the mast erected,” Brewer said. “When they were driving down the freeway they hit a bridge and broke the mast off. It was picked it up by a [SAR] member not realizing it was from the rescue boat.”

RCMP are investigating the theft, with no word on if the boat was damaged.

READ MORE: A year with Kent Harrison Search and Rescue

The Spirit of Harrison was taken out of service about a year ago, replaced by a larger boat, the Harrison Osprey. But Brewer said the boat, with an estimated value of $50,000 to $60,000, was still deployable and that the volunteer-based rescue team has plans to sell it.

“It’s been deployed literally hundreds of times, saved countless lives, and certainly has a huge emotional connection to many, many SAR volunteers who have trained on it,” Brewer said.

Third theft in three years for Agassiz-based rescue team

While the Spirit of Harrison has been recovered and is in RCMP custody, this isn’t the first time thieves have gotten away with the volunteer team’s equipment.

“This is the third time in two or three years,” Brewer said.

The first time, theives broke into the logistics trailer – assumably looking for ATVS, he said, but still took off with other equipment.

In another instance, a smaller 12-foot boat sitting on a trailer was taken off the compound. The boat and trailer were later found, but the engine had been removed.

Brewer said the vibrant Spirit of Harrison was the biggest piece of equipment to ever be stolen, being stored on an easily visible lot.

“So to steal a boat that size and that visible requires a lot of nerve.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Bluegrass Christmas concert sparks season of giving

Tenth annual show and fundraiser held on Dec. 1 at Cordova Bay United Church

Victoria’s Wild ARC facility welcomes new roof thanks to a rush of donations

The animal rehabilitation centre was in desperate need of repairs after 21 years

Victoria’s vacancy rate predicted to rise above one per cent

Rental rates will continue to rise, despite more availability

Victoria brewery re-brands again after cryptic new logo failed

Vancouver Island Brewing said goodbye to its confusing hexagon logo

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Grim search for more fire victims; 31 dead across California

More than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres

Politicians need to do better on social media, Trudeau says

Prime minister suggests at conference in Paris some are trying to use technology to polarize voters

Most Read