Home Americas Canadian frigate sailor goes missing off the coast of California

Canadian frigate sailor goes missing off the coast of California

HMCS Winnipeg
Canadian Armed Force file photo of HMCS Winnipeg during the Asia-Pacific deployment

A Royal Canadian Navy sailor deployed on board Halifax-class frigate HMCS Winnipeg went missing off the coast of California on December 14.

The Canadian defense ministry identified the sailor as Master Sailor Duane Earle, a Boatswain, from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The details are still being determined, but it is believed he accidently fell overboard very early on December 14, while the ship was approximately 500 nautical miles west of San Francisco, California, en route back to Esquimalt after a deployment to the Asia-Pacific region on operations Projection and Neon.

HMCS Winnipeg was deployed in the Asia-Pacific region from September to December 2020.

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 search effort is being coordinated by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Alameda County, California and includes Royal Canadian Air Force and United States Coast Guard assets.

The Canadian Armed Forces will carry out an investigation into the circumstances of how the sailor went missing.

“We are dedicating all available resources to search for Master Sailor Duane Earle in hopes of bringing him home. During these difficult times, I keep his family and friends in my thoughts,” Harjit S. Sajjan, Canadian defense minister, said.