Two boaters were safely brought to shore by rescue crews after a vessel sank in the Alberni Inlet, forcing them to cling to a nearby log boom to keep afloat, according to Port Alberni RCMP.
On Saturday, Nov. 5 around 12:30 p.m., RCMP received a report of a boat sinking in the water near Canal Waterfront Park, accessed via Plywood Drive.
Police say bystanders at the park watched as the vessel took on water and quickly sank, leaving its two occupants trapped in rough waters.
On board the detachment’s rigid-hull inflatable boat, officers were on scene within 20 minutes and arrived to find “the occupants on a log boom approximately 30 meters from the shore, attempting to stay out of the water,” RCMP say.
In an interview with CHEK News, police noted the occupants were in their 30s and from the Alberni Valley.
The boat’s owner says he and a friend were salvaging logs when the friend accidentally got a rope hooked in the vessel’s engine, prompting it to sink and the pair to climb onto the logs they were towing.
Const. Richard Johns says incidents like these are a stark reminder to wear a personal flotation device when on board a vessel and to stock a boat with all the required safety equipment.
“Wearing a life jacket or PDF is the best defence for surviving cold-water shock and hypothermia,” Johns, media relations officer with Port Alberni RCMP, said in a news release.
Port Alberni RCMP recently moved its patrol vessel to the Harbour Quay Marina on Harbour Road to decrease response times, according to police in the release.
On Saturday evening, the local detachment said the Canadian Coast Guard was working with the owner of the sunken vessel to recover it from the water.