B.C. Ferries crew launched a rescue boat to help a boat in distress outside Tsawwassen on Thursday night. (KENT HEGGART photo)

Nanaimo-bound ferry responds to flares, assists boaters in distress

Incident happened outside Tsawwassen on Thursday night

A ferry responded to distress flares and helped a boat return safely to port on rough seas last night.

The Queen of Alberni sailing from Tsawwassen to Nanaimo circled back to help a family on a boat that had lost power, a witness said.

Kent Heggart said about half an hour after the ferry left Tsawwassen, passengers spotted flares and alerted crew. The ferry had already passed the boat in distress, but doubled back.

“They shone the spotlights, found the boat,” Heggart said. “I don’t know how they found the boat, because they had lost all electrical power, so basically their navigation system and all the electricity was out.”

He said two ferries crew members piloted a zodiac to meet the 38-foot boat and the family, and stayed until a Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft was able to escort the boat, which still had fuel, to port.

Heggart suggested the operation was made more dramatic due to the rough seas.

“The zodiac had taken on so much water that their pump couldn’t keep up and the boys were soaked,” he said.

Heggart said the ferry had left Tsawwassen 30 minutes after its scheduled 8:15 p.m. departure.

“Maybe it was a good thing we were late. Some things happen for a reason,” he said.

He said crew provided regular updates, and at one point the captain announced free hot chocolate and coffee for everybody, “which of course everybody gladly took.”

Heggart said passengers cheered the rescue and were proud to have been a small part of it, and didn’t mind B.C. Ferries getting them back to Nanaimo far behind schedule.

“It didn’t matter…” he said. “Who else was going to help these people? It was a beautiful thing to see.”

A service notice from the ferry corporation late Thursday night noted that the Queen of Alberni was 115 minutes behind schedule “due to assisting a vessel in distress in conjunction with the coast guard.”

READ ALSO: On the bridge with B.C. Ferries

READ ALSO: Hybrid Gabriola vessels part of B.C. Ferries’ plans to reduce emissions

READ ALSO: B.C. Ferries asks for input on Horseshoe Bay terminal concepts



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan resident with dementia breaks silence on stigma in Alzheimer Society campaign

“I don’t think I’ve encountered stigma as much as I’ve encountered a lack of understanding”

Cowichan’s Achurch named all-star MVP

LMG goalie and teammate Scott help VISL beat FVSL

Indian Day School survivors can now submit claims for $10K-$200K in compensation

Anyone who is part of the class action is being encouraged to start the process now

Shawnigan Hills parkrun Report for Jan. 11

Parkrun number 16 saw 11 first-timers cross the finish line in a… Continue reading

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

Most Read