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Ministry of Environment to inspect swamped Spirit

The paddle wheeler Spirit of Kelowna has partially sunk in Okanagan Lake. It went aground on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013.
December 18, 2013 - 10:29 AM

KELOWNA - The investigation into how the Spirit of Kelowna came to be partially underwater Sunday morning has begun, but authorities have so far been unable to determine exactly what happened.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater says that he became aware Sunday morning that the 66 foot, 75-passenger vessel had become free from its moorings and partially sank off Kalamoir Park in West Kelowna.

He says that members of RCMP, Regional Rescue and West Kelowna Fire Rescue attended the scene Sunday and determined that a small amount of fuel and oil was leaking.

“They looked at putting a containment barrier around the location but it was too rough to be effective,” Findlater says. “The Ministry of the Environment has been notified and will be investigating.”

The Spirit of Kelowna was launched in June 2012 in the hopes of becoming a tourist and charter vessel.

“We don’t know who owns this boat currently,” says Findlater. “It appeared some time last year but has been in contravention of the W1 zoning, which only grants a vessel Right of Passage.”

RCMP Cst. Kris Clark says that the case was initially treated as ‘suspicious’ but have since turned the site over to the Ministry of Environment.

“It doesn’t appear to be criminal in nature but that may change,” says Clark.

According to a District of West Kelowna press release, a relative of the boat’s owner has been contacted.

DWK spokesperson Kirsten Jones says that the vessel was refloated Monday afternoon and will remain moored in front of Kalamoir park Monday night. District Bylaw Enforcement expects the owners to move the vessel some time Tuesday.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infotelnews.ca, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.

This story has been edited to include the refloating of the boat.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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