The man who fished a human foot and leg bones out of the water near downtown Vancouver on Tuesday said it was an 11-year-old boy who first discovered the grisly remains.

Ron van Streun, the managing operator of Vancouver Cruises, said he initially thought the child was joking when he told him there was a foot floating in False Creek.

"First reaction was he's pulling a joke on us. But then he seemed quite serious, so I went down to the dock to take a look and indeed, there was a shoe floating upside down in the water," van Streun said.

Upon closer inspection, van Streun saw there was a leg protruding from the shoe. Not wanting it to float away, he fished the foot out of the water with two fingers and laid it on the dock.

The unusual discovery triggered van Streun's memory of similar incidents in Vancouver, and he called police immediately.

Police cordoned off the area and the BC Coroners Service has taken charge of the investigation.

"[It was] quite disturbing -- quite a discovery to make," Vancouver Police Const. Jana McGuinness told reporters.

Coroners have determined that the leg became naturally detached from the knee after a long time in the water. Forensic experts are hoping to use DNA to identify the leg's owner.

The discovery marks the 11th human foot to wash up in the coastal region from B.C. to northwestern Washington since August 2007. Coroners have confirmed the identity of four of the seven feet found in B.C.

So far, police say foul play isn't suspected in connection with any of the feet, which are believed to have detached naturally in the water.