A civilian sailboat and the crews of an RCAF Cormorant helicopter and Canadian Coast Guard vessel responded to a report of an overturned vessel east of Texada Island on Saturday, rescuing two men from the cold waters.
The men had been in a 15-foot boat when a large wave capsized the craft and threw both boaters into the water.
Both were able to cling to an ice cooler and remained in the water more than an hour until a passing sailboat spotted them and brought them onboard. The crew of the sailboat called the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Victoria. The Cormorant, carrying Search and Rescue Technician (SAR Tech) first responders, was sent to rendezvous with the sailboat in case the men required medical care. The helicopter arrived at about 2:40 p.m.
“The rigging and sails on the boat posed some challenges to hoist on board, so we jumped into the water and swam 100 metres to the boat,” said MCpl Sean Daniell, SAR Tech from 442 Squadron, 19 Wing Comox. “Once we got on board, we gave both men a checkup; they were both cold and exhausted from treading water for so long.”
Once the SAR Techs had confirmed the men were in stable condition, they were transferred into the care of a Coast Guard fast response craft crew from Powell River. The overturned boat was later secured by a crew from Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Unit 61.
— 19 Wing Comox