Commercial fishing boat the Arctic Fox II sunk off the coast of Vancouver Island early Tuesday morning, killing two of three crew members. (Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission)

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

The BC Coroners Service is investigating after a fishing vessel sank off the coast of southern Vancouver Island Tuesday morning.

The BC Coroners Service confirmed two people have died in this incident but has no other details to release at this time.

The US Coast Guard received a distress call at 2 a.m on Tuesday, Aug. 11 from someone aboard the commercial fishing vessel, the Arctic Fox II, a Canadian-registered boat.

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The boat was taking on water off the coast of Cape Flattery, the northwest corner of Washington state, and the three people aboard were suiting up in survival suits and preparing to abandon ship, reported U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Clark.

One person was rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. They were found in a life raft, with a survival suit, and in stable condition, and have been brought back to B.C.

The Canadian Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria joined the search with two aircrews, but have not confirmed whether the whereabouts of the third fisherman.

Sea conditions that morning were “aggressive,” Clark said, with winds at 25-30 knots, 10-15 foot swells and 13.7 C water.

“I’m not a meteorologist, don’t know if there was a storm, but those are fairly aggressive weather conditions. It was a 66-ft boat, it should be more than able to hand those sea conditions, however they certainly have impacts for survivability,” he said.

The Arctic Fox II is a Scottish-built troller/seine net fishing vessel constructed in 1947, owned by Teague Fishing Corporation and registered in Shawnigan Lake. The boat was featured on the third Free Willy movie in 1997 as a whale hunting boat according to FishingNews UK.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca

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