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Lost fisherman found alive, another still missing after life raft discovered off Vancouver Island

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One of two American fishermen who had been lost at sea for nearly two weeks was found alive Thursday, floating in an emergency life raft approximately 75 kilometres off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The other man who was aboard their 13-metre vessel when it left Grays Harbor in Washington state on Oct. 12, has not been found.

The lone survivor was located by the crew of the Canadian fishing boat "Ocean Sunset" approximately 40 nautical miles off Ucluelet, B.C., around 8 a.m.

"It's a one-in-a-million chance to find a life raft out there in that huge open ocean," U.S. Coast Guard public affairs officer Steve Strohmaier said of the discovery.

"We're really, really grateful for those Good Samaritans who took him aboard," Strohmaier said, commending the crew of the Canadian boat for feeding the castaway and giving him water while waiting for authorities to arrive.

Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape Ann was dispatched to the scene to bring the stranded man ashore.

B.C. Emergency Health Services says it was contacted by the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria at 8:42 a.m. about "a marine incident." An ambulance was sent to the government dock in Tofino to await the man's arrival.

Paramedics treated the mariner, who was found to be in stable condition, and transported him to Tofino General Hospital.

The U.S. Coast Guard had been searching for the missing mariners after their vessel, named "Evening," failed to return to Westport, Wash., on Oct. 15.

The search was called off Wednesday after authorities scoured more than 36,000 square kilometres of ocean.

"Literally about 12 hours after we suspended (our search), a Good Samaritan vessel was able to come upon this life raft pretty much out in the middle of nowhere," Strohmaier said. "And miraculously, there was one person inside that was alive."

The U.S. Coast Guard says it will work with the rescued man to determine what happened to his fishing partner and their boat before determining whether or not to renew the search.

"At this time, the search for the other individual is still suspended pending any new information," United States Coast Guard public affairs officer Travis Magee said.

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