An elderly man and his wife who live on Texada Island off B.C.'s Sunshine Coast say they were shocked when the sole survivor of a weekend boating accident showed up at the door of their remote cabin on Sunday afternoon.
Ramona and Toni Kappmeier, 88 and 89, respectively, told CBC News they were startled to find a woman soaking wet, dirty and in obvious distress when they answered the door of their cabin, about 100 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.
Toni Kappmeier called 911, while his wife sat the woman down.
"She couldn't even stand anymore. Her legs gave out," Ramona Kappmeier said. "She was completely in shock and tired... and crying, screaming for her husband."
They gave the woman dry clothes and hot tea, then waited until the woman told them her story.
"We couldn't understand her in the beginning, because she mumbled, and she screamed and she cried. She was completely out of control," Ramona said.
The Kappmeiers discovered the woman and her husband had left Sechelt the day before to go fishing off Texada Island, but as the afternoon wore on, conditions got rough.
The woman, whose identity has not been released by police, and her husband Jordan Patrick Beaudoin, 38, tried to wait out the storm at Jedediah Island, near the southern tip of Texada, but eventually made a dash for the mainland. On the way, the boat began to sink.
"She said that the boat got water, and it goes so fast. In about three minutes, the boat was going [under] and her husband wants to keep the boat afloat.. and she said, she can't do that: 'C'mon, we swim to the shore, the shore can't be far enough away,'" Ramona Kappmeier said.
The woman told the couple that she had tried in vain to get her partner to safety.
"But he was always swimming in circles already, he didn't know anymore. He was maybe in shock too, you know... then she held onto him, and tried to keep him... but then all of a sudden she woke up and she was on a beach," Ramona Kappmeier said.
Survived several hours in the water
Authorities believe the woman, who was wearing a lifejacket, spent several hours in the ocean. The beach where she woke up is roughly 20 kilometres up the east side from the southern tip of Texada.
Police said Tuesday she may have made some attempts to find her husband but, when that wasn't successful, she hiked at least five kilometres up through steep, rocky terrain before she happened upon the Kappmeiers' home.
"She had quite a climb up from the beach," Toni said.
"It goes steep down to the ocean and she climbed up there, I can't imagine how," Ramona Kappmeier said. "She must have been tired the whole night."
Searchers found the body of Jordan Beaudoin, just before 6 p.m. PT Sunday. He had washed up onto a beach about seven kilometres further north up the island from where his wife landed.
Police are not releasing the name of the woman, but said she was suffering from hypothermia and was taken to hospital.
She returned home to the Sechelt area after being released Monday morning.
Police said foul play is not suspected in the death of her husband.