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Paddle wheeler sinks

UPDATE: While the Spirit is sunk, questions surrounding the paddle wheeler's ownership start to surface. 

Doug Mayzes issued the following statement Sunday evening:

"I am very deeply saddened and shaken by this development. This is a very unfortunate situation for me given that The Spirit of Kelowna was a dream of mine to take visitors and locals alike for rides on a real working sidewheeler.  However, I am not the owner of this vessel.  My past attempts at obtaining regulatory approval for this vessel were unsuccessful despite my best efforts for many years.  I am currently investigating the means of legal recourse regarding this matter and therefore, I feel it would not be prudent to comment further on this sad situation at this time. We are cooperating fully with the authorities."

Castanet will have more information as further developments unfold. 

The Spirit of Kelowna paddle wheeler hit the bottom of Lake Okanagan early Sunday morning. 

The 75-passenger vessel is submerged off of Kalamoir Park in West Kelowna. 

West Kelowna RCMP say there are no immediate dangers as a result of the incident, and no immediate environmental concerns. 

The cause of the sinking is unknown, but it appears the boat may have broke free of its moorings and drifted down shore. 

Captain Doug Mayzes launched the Spirit of Kelowna in June of 2012, offering historical tours of Lake Okanagan. He turned the hull of a surplus US naval lifeboat into a working side-wheeler. 

RCMP say it is up to the owner to remove the sunken watercraft. 

"I wonder how the owner's going to get it out of the water," said Westbank resident Hugh Clarke, as he took a stroll down to the lake to check out the sunken wreckage. "I just hope that they're able to get it out and hopefully repair it."


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