Two people were sent to hospital after their fibreglass boat rammed into the breakwater and sank at French Creek Marina early Sunday morning, Aug. 20.
The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre said it was contacted at 5:36 a.m. with a report that a vessel struck a piling at the entrance to the harbour.
“Members from the Canadian Coast Guard Lifeboat Station in French Creek responded and found one person on the shore uninjured and one person who was thrown from the vessel into the water, who was injured,” said a spokesperson for the JRCC. “They recovered the person, who was transferred to emergency health services (B.C. Ambulance), and both persons were taken to care.”
The spokesperson was unable to provide details on the victims or the nature of the injuries.
On Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 22, salvage crews removed the sunken boat from the marina. Diver Lyle Montgomery, the salvage co-ordinator, said the vessel was a Maxum boat, approximately 23 feet in length. He was called to dive and inspect the wreck initially at about 9 a.m. Sunday.
“This was in a navigation channel, so this was bad,” said Montgomery. “The boat was not in a good place; the next storm spreads it in the channel. What happens is they float bow-up, so it’s a hazard to navigation.”
He said the boat struck the piling straight on, essentially destroying the bow. The engine and propeller leg might be salvagable, he said, but the hull is a write-off.
“There’s massive foward damage,” he said. “It’s a nice boat, but it’s massively exploded. It drove in; that’s obvious.”
Montgomery and his crew raised the boat and floated it to the marina’s boat launch early Tuesday, then enlisted Chris Strong of Big Island Industrial to lift it and remove it to a salvage yard.
Boom was placed around the launch as the lift was performed. There was a small, light sheen of gasoline, but Montgomery said there was no damaging spill of fuel oil.
“We would be on it if it was diesel or oil, but it’s gas; it evaporates from the surface,” he said. “You don’t like it, but there’s no spill and the engine oil is sealed.”