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Woman found in water after car abandoned on Nanaimo ferry

Police say it's unclear what happened. No charges are being pursued.
A search was organized after an abandoned car was found on a ferry following its arrival at Departure Bay on Wednesday.

A woman was found in distress in the water off Horseshoe Bay on Wednesday after a search sparked by an abandoned car on a Nanaimo ferry.

The vehicle was found abandoned shortly after the Queen of Oak Bay landed at Nanaimo at 8:39 a.m., Nanaimo RCMP spokesman Gary O’Brien said.

O’Brien said the keys were still in the ignition and personal effects were left in the car, but a search of the vessel revealed the driver was not on board.

A search on water and land was conducted by Nanaimo RCMP, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the woman, in her 50s, was found about 9 a.m. in water off Vancouver.

O’Brien said he did not know how deep the water was or how long she had been there. The woman was taken by paramedics to hospital in Vancouver for an assessment.

O’Brien said it was unclear what happened, and closed-circuit television cameras shed little light on the situation.

“One assumption is that she walked off or went overboard at the time of ferry departure,” he said.

Police are not pursuing charges.

The Queen of Oak Bay was running about 90 minutes behind schedule Wednesday as a result of the investigation.