Clark County fishermen missing off coast of B.C.

Charter boat failed to return from outing on Monday

By Mark Bowder, Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

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Two Clark County men were on board a commercial fishing boat that went missing late Monday off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, according to the wife of one of the men.

Peter Idlewine, 53, of Brush Prairie was last seen with two other fishermen and a guide on Monday, said Liz Idlewine. One of the other fishermen was also from Clark County, she said. That man’s name was not available, nor was the name of the other fisherman, also said to be from the Portland metro area.

The boat was chartered from Qualicum Rivers Fishing Lodge & Resort in Winter Harbor and captained by a local fishing guide.

Gerry Pash, a spokesman for the Victoria Joint Rescue Coordination Center, said Thursday that a search effort involving Canadian Coast Guard cutters and a number of other vessels and aircraft has been ongoing since the 19-foot boat failed to return to port Monday.

The search area stretches from near the northern tip of Vancouver Island to south of the Canada-United States border, according to Pash.

He said the weather has complicated the search effort. It was initially windy when the boat was first reported missing, but calmer conditions allowed heavy fog to develop off the coast. Visual searches and radar has failed to turn up any sign of the vessel.

“It’s really quite a mystery,” Pash said. “It’s basically 2,500 pounds of Styrofoam wrapped in aluminium, so its not likely to sink.”

The boat, which was based in Winter Harbor, could be adrift with motor problems, or it could have put ashore in one of the many small inlets on the western shore of Vancouver Island.

“We would just love to hope they’re on land,” Liz Idlewine said. “If they’re adrift, it’s a very seaworthy boat with a very experienced captain.”

Idlewine said this was her husband’s third trip to that area, where he fishes for salmon and bottom fish. He works as a construction superintendent and has two daughters, she said.

Mark Bowder: 360-735-4512 or mark.bowder@columbian.com.