Quick action by the Canadian Coast Guard out of Port Hardy meant four people were able to be rescued from the waters on Wednesday.
Wednesday night around 6:15 p.m., a crew at the Port Hardy Lifeboat Station received a mayday call from a 7.6 metre (25 foot) workboat travelling in the Queen Charlotte Strait with four people on board.
The mayday call said the windows were smashed out by waves and the boat was taking on water.
Weather conditions in the Strait were “very poor,” according to the Coast Guard.
The MV Coastal Server, a vessel of opportunity, spotted the flares by the four on board and turned around to help with the search.
The fast response craft, Port Hardy 1, was the first on scene and began the search.
“Within minutes the Port Hardy 1 was there and confirmed that there was four people in the water with life jackets, with reflective tape, and flashing lights which was was the only reason we were able to find them really is the visibility of their PPE and their PFP,” Kevin Campbell, commanding officer of the Port Hardy search and rescue station, told CHEK News in an interview.
“So it was very fortunate for them that they were wearing that.”
The four had been in the water for 45 minutes.
Rescue crews then performed “an extremely challenging patient transfer” and pulled the four from the water. The four were then brought to the larger vessel, CCGS Florencia Bay, which is also an enclosed vessel that had responded to the call.
The rescue specialists on board then provided medical care to treat the hypothermia, and the four were brought to Port Hardy and transferred to the BC Emergency Health Services team waiting on shore.
“The quick response by our Port Hardy crew and the MV Coastal Server, and the safety equipment employed by the people on the workboat, gave this incident a happy ending,” the coast guard said in a tweet.
When a 25ft workboat with four people on board issued a mayday call stating their windows were smashed out by waves and the vessel was taking on water, vessel of opportunity MV Coastal Server spotted their flares.
— Canadian Coast Guard (@CoastGuardCAN) January 12, 2024