A body found near the Tsawwassen, B.C., ferry terminal has been identified as the 74-year-old man who fell into the water Sunday night while trying to rescue his wife, Delta police say.

'It was a lot of work getting her out. She was not able to help too much but we got her.' — Rescuer and next-door neighbour George Rust

The accident happened around 9:30 p.m. PT near the 4300 block of River Road West in Delta.

His wife had fallen from the couple's small boat that was moored to their houseboat on the Fraser River, and the man fell in as he tried to help her. 

The woman was rescued by a neighbour, but her husband's body was found floating near the ferry terminal around 2:30 p.m. on Monday by the coast guard.

The B.C. Coroners Service will now take over the investigation. 

According to family members, the 74-year-old man is Everett McGowin, who operated O.K. Boot Corral in Gastown. 

Neighbour George Rust said he was in bed when he heard "wrong sounds around the water."

"So I went out to have a look-see, and saw someone, and didn't know who would be in the water at this time, and then realized, it was [the woman]," he said. "It was a lot of work getting her out. She was not able to help too much but we got her out."

Rust said the woman's husband was nowhere to be seen.

"And then I started looking for [the husband] because she didn't know where he was. And I borrowed a dinghy and got out on the water there and went around with a high powered beam until a hovercraft chased me off the water."

George Rust - Elli Cox

George Rust, here with his wife Elli Cox, says he pulled his next door neighbour from the water, but couldn't find the woman's husband. (Mark Gryski/CBC)

Rust said he's known the older couple for 15 years. He said the wife recently had a knee replacement.

"And I thought maybe that made her unstable and she fell because of it. And I know he would have gone right away into the water."

Search and rescue officials say the woman is in stable condition in hospital after being pulled from the water.