Anonymous hero races to rescue couple from frigid waters off Nanoose Bay


A fortunate glance from an anonymous Nanoose Bay resident turned into a heroic rescue when he spotted a capsized boat and sprang into action, saving a husband and wife who had been plunged into the frigid waters off the Yeo Islands.

The couple was out on their boat prawning near the Yeo Islands at around 6 p.m. Monday when something went wrong. They issued a mayday call, but it was so broken up that first responders couldn’t understand it.

But fortunately, one man saw the boat capsize from his patio and sprang into action.

The humble hero asked to remain anonymous, but told CHEK News that he called for help then raced out to his own boat to save the people who’d just plunged into the water.

“A gentleman happened to be out on his patio looking out on the water and saw a boat capsize and jumped into action. Called 911, called the Coast Guard. Hopped down to his boat that was moored at the marina and rushed out there and saved them, which is absolutely remarkable. Heroes in my opinion. Absolutely,” said Denis Holme, a member of the Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department.

Paramedics and volunteer firefighters met the rescued couple at the docks of a marina in Schooner Cove and wrapped them up in blankets, where Holme learned they had been in the water for 30 minutes before their rescuer was able to reach them.

He said they were already showing symptoms of hypothermia.

“Forty-eight degrees (Fahrenheit) I think the water was, so with that said and the chop that was out there last night, I don’t know how much longer they would have survived without these Good Samaritans coming to the rescue,” said Holme.

The couple’s boat was towed by Coast Guard members to the Yeo Islands, where its hull could be seen resting on the beach Tuesday.

Nanoose residents like Jonathan Binnington looked on in relief that the rescue they watched from their homes was a success.

Jonathan Binnington, who has lived in Nanoose for 10 years, often watches the ocean from his home, never knowing what he might witness.

“It’s always curious to see what people are doing out there. We’ve got a very good view here to see what’s going on,” said Binnington, who has lived in Nanoose for the last decade.

But the rescue thanks to one of Nanoose’s own might be the most tense sight, with ultimately the best ending, yet.

“Call it kismet, call it good fortune,” said Binnington.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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