A story of a survival and a tragic loss has materialized following the sudden passing of a Sechelt man in a boating accident in the waters off Texada Island last weekend.
Jordan Patrick Beaudoin, aged 38, perished in the accident.
Beaudoin and his partner Shannon McBoyle set out from Halfmoon Bay around noon to spend the day fishing off Texada Island in their 16-foot powerboat Saturday, April 26.
“The couple encountered rough seas and inclement weather and sought protection in a secluded bay,” said Powell River RCMP Const. Tim Kenning. “At approximately 9:30 p.m. that night the couple decided to head for home, but they hit rough seas again, and this time their boat began taking on water. It ultimately capsized, sending both into the water.”
Jordan’s uncle Leonard Beaudoin said his nephew was experienced on the water, and an avid fisherman.
“The family is just devastated,” Leonard said. “No one expects something like this is going to happen.”
He said what the family understands from speaking with McBoyle is there was a bit of a lull in the weather and they tried to make a run for home, but got into trouble again.
“I guess the squalls came in and literally filled the boat half-way with water,” Leonard said.
“They both decided they had to get out of the boat and into the water real fast. I think Jordan was a bit of a hero. He gave Shannon a dry suit and I guess his dry suit had a busted zipper. Maybe that’s why he didn’t make it.”
He said just as they jumped into the water, another wave came crashing over them, flipping and sinking the boat.
“They were both huddled together in the water, and I guess Shannon blacked out for a bit. When she came to, Jordan was gone,” Leonard said. “I suspect it was just pure adrenaline that got her through. The wind and the tide blew her into the beach. She was so exhausted, I guess she fell asleep on the beach.”
When McBoyle woke up, her survival instincts kicked in again as she made her way through thick brush and rocky terrain to try to find help.
Ramona and Toni Kappmeier, who live south of Gillies Bay, said they saw McBoyle soaked and dirty, still wearing her life jacket and without shoes, stumble into their yard when their dog started to bark just after 2 p.m. Sunday.
Ramona said her husband answered the door and the woman told them she had been in a boating accident and her partner was still there and she needed help.
“She was completely out of control and so tired,” said Ramona. “She didn’t even realize that she wasn’t wearing shoes.”
The couple offered her dry clothes and hot tea, and emergency services arrived.
She said the woman explained that their boat began to sink quickly and the couple decided to swim for the shore.
Ramona believes the woman followed the hydro pole line from the east side of the island until she found a logging road. “It’s quite a steep climb up the mountain,” she said. “There’s no path. It’s all bush.”
A search and rescue operation began once police were alerted, and a significant land, air and water search commenced through the coordination of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, Kenning said.
The RCMP provided resources from the Texada Island RCMP detachment, Powell River RCMP detachment and the West Coast Marine Section as part of the search effort, he added.
Beaudoin’s body was found at the waterline on the east side of the island by search crews at around 7 p.m. Sunday night. He was also wearing a life jacket, police said.
Beaudoin worked as a deckhand for Lafarge. Leonard described his nephew as a really great guy, with a big heart.
“He was generous and a good-hearted guy,” Leonard recalled. “The last time I saw him was at my older brother’s funeral. I remember he came up to me and gave me a hug. I can still feel his stubble on my face. I remember holding him and crying with him as we shared that loss. It hurts me to think that was the last time I saw him.”
Leonard said he also met McBoyle at the funeral and thought she was a good person.
“I was working last Saturday night off-loading a barge in Howe Sound. I wasn’t comfortable out there myself, and I’ve been on the water all my life, so I don’t know how Shannon made it. It’s just a miracle,” Leonard said.
“Then for her to find a house on the island — it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. I don’t know what else to say. It’s just a tragedy. A horrible accident.”
McBoyle was treated for hypothermia in hospital in Powell River and was released earlier this week.
Jordan’s mother Alison said that her son “cherished and adored Shannon.” She said an account is being set up at TD Canada Trust for anyone wishing to donate to help Shannon.
The family is holding a Celebration of Life this Saturday, May 3, at 3 p.m. at 4802 Highway 101.
— With files from Chris Bolster/Powell River Peak
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