The search for Master Sailor Duane Earle, from Winnipeg, has concluded. The Boatswain, described as a ‘sailor’s sailor’ was not found. (Courtesy Canadian Armed Forces)

The search for Master Sailor Duane Earle, from Winnipeg, has concluded. The Boatswain, described as a ‘sailor’s sailor’ was not found. (Courtesy Canadian Armed Forces)

Search called off for sailor who possibly fell overboard from navy ship en route to Esquimalt

Canadian Armed Forces’ search for Boatswain Duane Earle concluded Tuesday evening

The search for a sailor missing from a Canadian navy ship has been called off, and the vessel and crew are headed back to Esquimalt.

Master Sailor Duane Earle, 47, from Winnipeg, is believed to have fallen overboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Winnipeg in the early hours of Dec. 14 when the ship was 500 nautical miles west of San Francisco and on route to CFB Esquimalt.

Upon realizing that Earle was missing, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) vessel turned around and began a search with assistance from a Cyclone helicopter, rescue centres in California and assets from the United States Coast Guard. The Royal Canadian Air Force also assisted and in total, the search spanned roughly 2,000 nautical miles from both air and sea.

But around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday the search was concluded, with CAF reporting that Earle had not been found. CAF says his next of kin has been notified and is being offered support.

READ ALSO: Search continues for ‘sailor’s sailor’ presumed overboard from navy vessel returning to Esquimalt

“This decision was not taken lightly, however after extensive coverage of the search area we have not been able to locate him,” said a statement from Rear-Admiral Brian Santarpia, maritime component commander. “I would also like to thank our allies who were involved in the search for Master Sailor Earle.”

The HMCS Winnipeg, which has about 230 trained officers aboard, was returning to Esquimalt from a two-month deployment to the Asia-Pacific region for Operation PROJECTION and NEON, training and international engagement deployments.

Earle joined CAF in 1990 as a member of the naval reserve at HMCS Chippawa. He served various deployments in the years since and spent nearly 2,000 days at sea.

The ship’s commanding officer, Commander Mike Stefanson said it has been an extremely difficult couple of days for the ship’s company.

“We have completed a challenging deployment, in very uncertain times both at home and overseas, and we will continue to stand together through this incredibly sad time,” he said in a statement. “I would like to offer my sympathies to the family and friends of Master Sailor Earle. He will be sorely missed.”

CAF says it will conduct an investigation into the circumstances around Earle’s disappearance and more details will be released in the coming weeks.

READ ALSO: Families, spectators wave goodbye to Navy Task Force from Victoria shorelines


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CFB EsquimaltVictoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Longtime basketball coach Allison McNeill is worried that the COVID-19 pandemic will adversely affect high-school athletes with university athletic aspirations. (Garrett James/Langley Events Centre photo)
COVID-19: Young athletes scrambling for scholarships, opportunities amid pandemic

‘They lost their whole Grade 12 year’ says Semiahmoo basketball coach Allison McNeill

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
White Rock woman among dozens in Lower Mainland to benefit from Elder Dog program

Dog-care organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but requires more clients to serve

Travis Selje with Rex, the family dog he got to enjoy for the final six months of his life. (Submitted photo)
Defence says evidence ‘compelling, overwhelming’ to acquit Surrey woman in deadly crash

Epileptic seizure caused fatal crash that killed Travis Selje, lawyer argues in final submissions

(Delta Police Department photo)
Delta Police searching for driver in hit-and-run

Police looking for witnesses to the incident that happened about 2 p.m. Feb. 23 on Ladner Trunk Road

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

Most Read