Winnipeg sailor missing from Canadian navy ship, military says

A search is underway in waters west of San Francisco for a master sailor from Winnipeg who’s gone missing, the Canadian military says.

Duane Earle is believed to have accidentally fallen overboard HMCS Winnipeg early Monday, about 500 nautical miles off the coast, National Defence said in a statement released Tuesday.

“MS Earle was not identified as missing until later in the day, at which point HMCS Winnipeg turned back along its route and commenced a search, along with its embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter,” the statement said.

The ship was returning to Esquimalt, B.C., after being deployed to the Asia-Pacific region.

“It is with heavy hearts that we have learned of the devastating news that Master Sailor Duane Earle, a Boatswain with HMCS Winnipeg, is missing. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, shipmates and the entire Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Armed Forces,” Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff, said in a statement.

‘It’s simply devastating’

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in California, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Coast Guard are helping in the search.

“We are dedicating all available resources to search for Master Sailor Duane Earle in hopes of bringing him home,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement.

The Canadian Armed Forces will conduct an investigation into the circumstances around how Earle went missing, the statement said.

“Our thoughts are with the family, friends and loved ones of our missing shipmate, Master Sailor Duane Earl,” Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, said in a statement.

“With this happening so close to the end of this deployment and with the holiday season looming, it’s simply devastating and is felt across our extended naval family.”

Earle’s next of kin have been notified and the CAF is providing his family with support.

HMCS Winnipeg has served in the Royal Canadian Navy since 1996 and has approximately 230 officers and sailors.

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