Dramatic rescue off the coast

Sailors had to be hoisted up after they lost their rudder in high seas

• Heavy seas and high winds proved too much for two sailors near Haida Gwai on Tuesday, forcing them to send out a call for help.

The sailors on board sent a mayday distress call at approximately 8:10 p.m. Monday night, after they lost their rudder, engine and sails in 80-kilometre winds and four metre seas, approximately 48 km south of Haida Gwaii Islands, in Queen Charlotte Sound.

The call was received at Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria and a Buffalo search and rescue airplane and a Cormorant helicopter from 19 Wing Comox were dispatched. The Buffalo aircraft arrived on scene first and dropped a two-way radio by parachute to re-establish communication with the sailors who had lost their radio shortly after sending the mayday.

“We assessed the situation and determined it was very dangerous for the people on board,” said Captain Jean Leroux, aircraft commander of the Cormorant. “We tried to put a Search and Rescue Technician (SAR Tech) on the deck, but it was impossible due to the masts, loose cables and torn sails. We lowered the SAR Tech into the water to the aft of the boat and he swam to get on board.”

The sailors were able to throw a guideline to Richardson and help him aboard. Once on the boat, Sgt. Richardson and Flight Engineer, Corporal Kent Campbell aboard, the Cormorant worked together to hoist the men from the rolling ship approximately 55 feet into the hovering helicopter. Both men were flown to Port Hardy.



• Fans of maritime fun won’t want to miss this weekend’s Great International Bathtub races in Nanaimo. The race starts at 11 a.m. on July 22 at Nanaimo Harbour.

That’s just the capper though. The Nanaimo Marine Festival kicked off Thursday and continues to Sunday. The festival includes displays, a sail past, farmers market, entertainment and more. Visit  bathtubbing.com/facts.php.


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