The crew of an RCAF Buffalo search and rescue airplane assisted six people on a lost pleasure boat, caught in fog, on Monday afternoon.
The people on board the 24-foot pleasure boat were off Cape Scott, on the north tip of Vancouver Island, bound for Port Hardy when they became lost in dense fog. The boat was reported overdue and Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria launched the crew of the 442 Squadron Buffalo from their base at CFB Comox to assist in the search.
“We heard them talking on FM radio and were able to home in on them,” said Capt. Henry Graham, pilot. “However, we had zero visibility of the water; the fog was too thick.”
Despite flying at only 600 feet above the water’s surface, the crew was not able to spot the boat from the air.
At approximately 4:45 p.m., Air Combat Systems Operator, Capt Corey McPhee, was able to make radio contact with the boat’s captain, who reported that his engine was having difficulty making speed.
“We got them on the radio channel and were able to get him to indicate when he saw us overhead,” said Capt. McPhee. “From there, we pinpointed his position and passed it on to Canadian Coast Guard Radio.”
The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape Sutil responded to the scene and escorted the vessel to Port Hardy.
— 19 Wing Comox