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

Reports of chaos in Penticton, involving police cruiser and possible shots fired

Residents also reported hearing shots fired at the same time as the crash

Driver held at gunpoint, car-jacked on East Side Road

Penticton RCMP are asking for the public to keep an eye out for the suspect, stolen vehicle

Penticton care aide training centre a first for the Interior

SafeCare BC Satellite Training Centre is now open in Penticton to help continuing care aides

Don’t miss the South Okanagan Similkameen Crime Stoppers fundraiser

The second annual fundraiser takes place Saturday for the South Okanagan Similkameen Crime Stoppers

Crime, substance abuse, public safety and housing listed as Penticton priorities

Penticton City Council to bring up priority issues at UBCM

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Fire at Kelowna home sends three to hospital

The fire which was located on the second floor of the townhouse complex is now out

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

Provincial Mobile Medical Unit makes an appearance in Kelowna

The high tech hospital on wheels provides medical care for rural communities and during emergencies

VIDEO: Tempers flare during Sagmoen’s police interview

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Most Read