Simon Pidcock acted quickly when he saw a small recreational boat doing donuts and people in the water in Cowichan Bay on the evening of March 23.
Pidcock, owner of Cowichan Bay’s Ocean EcoVentures, had a small group on his boat near the mouth of the bay at approximately 6 p.m. last Thursday when he observed the unusual sight.
As he approached the scene, Pidcock saw a man treading water, holding what turned out to be his two-year old son out of the water next to a boat that was doing donuts at full speed about 10 metres from them.
Pidcock and his companions managed to get the father and son out of the water and then noticed that a third person, the father’s brother, was in the water and was not doing very well when they pulled him aboard.
“He passed out twice and almost died right before our eyes,” Pidcock said.
“The man’s lips and face were blue from hypothermia and we quickly wrapped him up in blankets and coats.”
But Pidcock said his greatest shock during the rescue was when he realized the accident victims’ five-to-six-metre-long aluminum vessel was still making laps around the area going at full speed with a five-year-old girl still on board.
“We started yelling at her to pull the red kill cord that would immediately shut down the engine and, although she seemed pretty frightened, she managed to pull that cord and cut the engine,” he said.
“I’ve seen lots of incidences over my 14 years on the water and I have to say that this one was pretty rare. It was an intense situation and, as we were the only boat in the area at the time, I wonder what would have happened had we not been there to rescue these people.”
Pidcock said the Coast Guard was alerted during the rescue and an ambulance was waiting at the dock upon their arrival.
The children involved in the incident were uninjured, but the adults were treated for mild hypothermia.
A Joint Rescue Coordination Centre vessel in Cowichan Bay was able to secure the boat after the family was rescued.