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'The whole community is in mourning': 2 dead after boat capsizes off Haida Gwaii

The Skidegate Health Centre on Haida Gwaii hosted a sacred fire on the beach Monday to honour the men who died. (Skidegate Health Centre) The Skidegate Health Centre on Haida Gwaii hosted a sacred fire on the beach Monday to honour the men who died. (Skidegate Health Centre)
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Two men are dead of suspected drowning after their fishing boat capsized near Haida Gwaii over the weekend.

A spokesperson from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria says the agency was contacted just before 7 a.m. Sunday to search for an aluminum fishing vessel that failed to return to the community of Skidegate.

Two vessels from the coast guard station in nearby Sandspit were tasked with searching for the boat and its occupants, according to the JRCC.

The bodies of the men were found by a volunteer search vessel at 1 p.m. and were recovered by the coast guard, which stood down the search.

RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said the men were found west of Haida Gwaii and the B.C. Coroners Service is investigating the deaths.

"The whole community is in mourning," said Karen George of the Skidegate Health Centre, which was hosting a sacred fire on the beach Monday to honour the men.

"We would like to reach out and express condolences to the families and community," the health centre said in a statement announcing the ceremony. "During these difficult times, we are at loss for words and walk with heavy hearts."   

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