WATCH: We’re getting a clearer picture of what happened in that dramatic rescue of three people in the frigid waters off Nanaimo Thursday. Authorities say it was a father, mother, and their 12-year-old girl who were forced to jump into the water when their boat erupted in flames.
A rescue off the waters off Nanaimo Thursday is one that Morgan Hughes and his Canadian Coast Guard team will never forget.
“When it comes to children and the looks on their faces when you get em in. That’s a good feeling,” said Hughes.
The Canadian Coast Guard crew raced from French Creek to the water off Nanaimo’s Rocky Point Thursday morning, in tandem with boats from Nanaimo and Powell River when 911 calls began coming in reporting a boat in flames at around 10:30 a.m. A family of three had to jump in the water
Remarkably the rescuing coast guard crew had just met the family: a father, a mother and their 12-year-old daughter when they had set out from French Creek Harbour at 7 a.m. that morning.
“Local residents, B.C., I believe they live on the Island,” said Morgan Chisholm of Canadian Coast Guard’s French Creek Base.
“And you know just out enjoying the last of the summer.”
When they were pulled from the frigid water, the three were holding on tightly to one another and grateful to see their rescuers.
“They’d been in the water minimum 30 minutes,” said Canadian Coast Guard’s Ron Meadows, who pulled the family out of the water. “And quite possibly longer.”
The survivors said the fire came on so fast that they didn’t even have a chance to radio for help. So they grabbed all the flotation devices they could find, jumped overboard and held on tight to one another.
Rescuers say it was sharp-eyed witnesses from shore that alerted authorities and likely saved those people’s lives.
“There’s a lot of wheels in motion, a lot of people working towards one goal,” said Nanaimo Harbour Master Rodney Grounds.
All letting out a collective sigh of relief as that family was pulled from the water.
“The people got really lucky yesterday,” said Chisholm.
“There were no injuries. With a fire like that an explosion it could have been a lot worse.”
The charred pieces of the boat will be sent to a scrap yard.