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

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
80-million-year-old turtle find on B.C. river exciting fossil hunters

Remains of two-foot creature of undetermined species will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
National fitness group condemns unlicensed Kelowna gym’s anti-vaccine policy

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada says Flow Academy is shining a negative light on the industry

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Most Read