Parksville-area fishermen plucked from the sea

Rescue crews kept busy in recent weeks off Canada's west coast

Six  Parksville-area  fishermen were plucked from the icy waters off Bamfield Friday evening.

The Coast Guard at Tofino received a distress call from the 42-foot vessel, the Jesse G just before 5:30 p.m. as it lay capsized off Cape Beale.

Although the prawn fishermen had to cling to the hull of the boat for 20 minutes before they were rescued, the only injury was a cut hand. The men were warmed up, fed and later released.

Coast Guard officials speculated that a combination of rough weather and shifting gear were the cause of the capsizing.

 

 

• A fisherman working the waters off Haida Gwai was airlifted to safety Monday after suffering from shortness of breath.

The call for help had a search and rescue crew from 19 Wing Comox scramble to reach the 72-foot vessel, located about 225 kilometres off the coast of Sandspit.

A Cormorant helicopter, supported by a Buffalo search and rescue airplane, was sent to evacuate the man from the vessel.

As the Buffalo circled overhead, lighting up the night sky with powerful flares dropped by parachute, the Cormorant positioned itself in a hover over the boat.

The helicopter pilots expertly fought high surface winds while carefully avoiding antennas protruding from the boat.

“It was difficult for the helicopter to stay over the boat,” said Master Corporal Anthony Vail. “The boat was pitching erratically, making the hoist down hazardous.

“In the end, we jumped into the water and swam about 30 feet to the boat’s ladder though 15-foot swells.”

Once on the boat, the SAR Techs stabilized the patient and prepared him for the difficult hoist from the deck of the ship.

The helicopter then flew to Sandspit, where the patient was transferred to the Buffalo for the flight back to 19 Wing Comox.  Once on the ground, the patient was transferred to the care of BC Ambulance in stable condition.

 

 

• Don’t forget to drop by Independent Shipwrights in Coombs on Saturday for their ninth annual marine swap meet.

The event, slated to run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature booths by anyone with something maritime in nature to sell.

The event has become known up and down Vancouver Island as a great way to either sell or buy nautical treasures.

 

 

• Anyone walking on Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park who comes across an item that could have drifted here from the tragic tsunami in Japan last year might want to give a call to the Maritime Museum of B.C.

That’s because the museum this week launched what they’re calling the Tsunami Debris Project, where those who find items are being encouraged to upload photos and videos of their find in an effort to reunite items with their owners. They have set up a Facebook page at www.facebook.com for people to post images of their finds.

• The start of the summer boating season means there’s a good likelihood some people will go out on the water and won’t come back.

That’s a tragic fact the Canadian Safe Boating Council wants to at least lessen by urging boaters to stay safe on the water.

Smartboater.ca was created by the Canadian Safe Boating Council in partnership with the National Search and Rescue Secretariat to remind Canadians during Safe Boating Awareness Week, which runs from May 19 to 25, and throughout the entire boating season to take a few extra precautions to guard against the dangers of a fall into cold water.

“Many people think that a fall into the water is no big deal,” said council spokesperson Susanne Simic. “They can climb back onto the dock or swim the short distance to shore, or they can right their overturned boat and get back in.

“The reality is when dealing with cold water those goals often can’t be reached.”

For more information visit www.SmartBoater.ca.