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Search involved in Tofino incident

Mar 31 2012

A search for two people who were reportedly washed away by a large wave on a Tofino beach was called off just before noon today, although RCMP said the file will remain open.

“We have yet to confirm that anyone was swept away, nor have we received any reports of a missing couple or person. The hotels in the area are conducting a guest count and we urge anyone who has information to step forward,” said Tofino RCMP Const. Sascha Banks.

A guest at the Long Beach Lodge reported seeing two people swept off the rocks on Sunset Point on the north end of Cox Bay about 7 p.m. Thursday.

“We were unable to confirm or duplicate that report from anyone else,” said Vancouver Island Rescue Co-ordination Centre Cpl. Russell Vanderputte.

An extensive search was done Thursday night and this morning, on the ground and in the water. The search included a ground search by Mounties from Tofino and Ucluelet, and West Coast search and rescue volunteers; the Canadian Coast Guard searching the water; and an aircraft from CFB Comox’s 442 Squadron scouring the area from the air.

No one was seen.

No hotels have reported guests missing.

In a community like Tofino, where the population can swell from the 1,500 residents to 120,000 tourists on a busy weekend, it could take longer for people to be reported missing, Banks said. Visitors often camp, or stay in private homes so they would not be noticed missing for some time.

“The witness is pretty sure of what she saw and we’re treating it as if it happened, but it could very well be she saw someone who simply fell and then got back up,” Banks said.

Tofino RCMP are asking any witnesses or anyone with information to call them at 250-725-3242.