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

Words on the Water returns for 19th year

March event expected to sell out, says organizer

Meet the 2020 Words on the Water authors

Eight authors for spring literary festival all have different backgrounds

Campbell River City Council postpones decision on Campbellton ‘entertainment venue’

Current liquor license doesn’t mesh with business plan, council says, wants ‘assurances’ for neighbours

Alcohol believed to be a factor in fiery crash in Campbell River

No one seriously injured, charges are being sought for impaired driving.

SD72 facing a shortfall of more than $1-million

Board will likely be asked to approve a draw on surplus to have balanced budget

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Nanaimo man hit with pole in dispute over off-leash dog

RCMP say no charges recommended at this time

Was there a tornado on Vancouver Island Monday?

Suspected phone app glitch gives eerie warning

Work has started on Malahat Skywalk, expected completion in 2021

$15-million project expected to open in spring, 2021

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Most Read