Search and rescue technicians from the 442 Squadron in Comox scrambled to the rescue Wednesday after receiving a report of a crew member in trouble on a freighter off the coast of Vancouver Island.
The 740-foot cargo ship Mitose was about 130 kilometres northwest of the Island at the time of the emergency call, at 9:40 a.m.
The Cormorant helicopter and a Buffalo SAR airplane arrived over the ship at noon.
“We approached the stern of the ship and told the captain to turn in a direction that would create a stable platform so that we could safely hoist the crew member into the helicopter,” said Captain Luc Coates, aircraft commander of the Cormorant.
“We hovered about 50 feet above the deck, and hoisted our first Search and Rescue Technician (SAR Tech) down. It was challenging because the ship was pitching up and down 15 to 20 feet and moving left to right.”
Once the first SAR Tech was on the ship, he attached a guideline to bring down two others and a rescue basket.
“The crew already had the patient ready to go and it was a quick matter of putting him in the basket and using the hoist and guideline to bring him into the helicopter,” said Sergeant Shawn Harrison.
Once the patient was on board, the helicopter flew to Port Hardy where he was put onto the Buffalo for a flight to Comox.
On arrival, he was transferred in stable condition to B.C. Ambulance and taken to local hospital. The patient’s current condition is unknown.
• Vancouver Island University hosted the film Hitchhiking Across the Atlantic at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station on Nov. 14.
The film followed the adventures of Thorsten Boehnke, who started his odyssey in Kiel, Germany, and detailed the many people and animals he and co-adventurer Laura Winter, a marine ecologist, met along the way.
• Parksville isn’t the only area in B.C. calling off popular Christmas season events.
The annual Navy Lighting Contest for 2012 at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt has been called off for this year primarily due to extensive ongoing construction at Her Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard.
“I fully recognize that the Navy Lighting event has become a tradition for many of us, including our neighbours in the community,” said Captain Bob Auchterlonie, Base Commander of CFB Esquimalt.
“My decision is based on a number of factors including the ongoing construction and renewal in HMC Dockyard, the ability for personnel to safely decorate buildings near the work being done, as well as the unavailability of ships due to operational and maintenance requirements.”
During the last Christmas season, nearly 5,800 visitors toured the HMC Esquimalt dockyard for the event, choosing their favourite from amongst the many decorated ships and shore installations at the base.