Yesterday, around 7:30 p.m., Victoria 911 Communications Centre staff received a call from Ogden Point’s cruise ship contact reporting that a 65-year-old passenger was missing from the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines vessel Jewel of the Sea. The passenger had departed the ship earlier in the day and had not returned. After searching the vessel it was determined the woman was not onboard, the ship’s crew was forced to continue on their way without her.
Upon investigation, it was learned the missing passenger had recently begun displaying dementia-like symptoms. Police also learned that she was booked for a return flight home from Seattle the next day. Armed with video of the woman departing the vessel and a description, police began to search the surrounding area for the missing woman.
A short time later VicPD received a call from staff at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, who had located the missing woman. Officers arrived to find Fairmont Empress Hotel staff comforting the senior who was quite disoriented. She was transported to hospital for assessment.
It was at that point that a VicPD K9 officer took it upon himself to arrange transportation that would connect the woman with her flight home. Cst. Andre Almeida put the cost of the woman’s flight from Victoria to Seattle on his own personal credit card, anticipating covering the cost with his own person air miles.
“There was no other way to ensure she would make it back home,” VicPD K9 officer Cst. Andre Almeida said. “She needed help. It could be my Mom stranded somewhere and I would hope that someone would help.”
After a night in the hospital, VicPD officers connected with the woman to personally transport her to the airport in time to make her flights. Upon arrival, the patrol officer discovered that Alaska Airlines had decided to take over her care. They reimbursed Cst. Ameida for the cost of the flights, and ensured she made her connection in Seattle. Commissionaires BC staff kept her company at YVR until her flight departed.
The woman is now safely back with her family in New York.
Great work by Alaska Airlines, Fairmont Empress Hotel, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, The Royal Jubilee Hospital, Commissionaires BC, VicPD and of course Cst. Almeida!