A Delta Police search of the BC Ferries vessel Coastal Celebration Friday afternoon (Sept. 9) at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal did not turn up any leads in what was a suspected link to an Amber Alert case.
B.C. Ferries officials confirmed the 2 p.m. sailing of the Coast Celebration to Victoria from Tsawwassen was turned around shortly after departure and directed back to the mainland.
Devon MacKenzie, a passenger on board the ferry told the South Delta Leader via cell phone the ferry was turned around at about 2:15 p.m. following an announcement to passengers the vessel was returning to Tsawwassen due to a “police incident.”
A later advisory over the ferry’s public address system confirmed the action was related to an Amber Alert involving the disappearance and possible abduction of three-year-old Kienan Hebert from Sparwood.
Forty-six year-old Randall Hopley is a suspect in the case.
MacKenzie said that when the ferry reached the dock Delta Police officers boarded the ship and began what appeared to be a thorough search that failed to turn up anything.
“We got to the dock and there were several police cars, marked and unmarked, at the dock already,” she said. “They (police) then boarded the ferry and conducted about an hour-long search of all the various void spaces and washrooms and anywhere they could have been hiding, I suppose.”
MacKenzie said she did not see any police K-9 members during the search.
The mood among passengers was surprisingly calm, she added, as uniformed and plain clothes police officers scoured the ferry.
“Everyone seemed to be pretty relaxed, actually,” MacKenzie said. “There weren’t many people who seemed too concerned, other than those concerned about the delay.”
The Amber Alert for Hebert has been headline news across the province since it was issued on Wednesday.
After about an hour the ferry was returned to service and headed back to the Swartz Bay terminal.
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