Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based 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 Mainlands 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 with 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

Proudly Surrey modifies child-care policy

Slate wants to use school board property for child-care spaces

Surrey school board wants to expand French Immersion program

District had to close program at Cougar Creek Elementary due to low enrolment

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants earn a 3-1 victory over Everett in season-opener in Langley

Langley’s major junior hockey team opened the season at home with a victory over the Silvertips.

White Rock rail forum leads to renewed calls for relocation

Upgrading safety is not enough say local politicians

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income owners in Lower Mainland

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only seven of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

The mountain pine beetle epidemic affected more than 180,000 square kilometres in B.C.

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

Most Read