A kayaker had to be rescued from the chilly waters near Swartz Bay ferry terminal Wednesday afternoon after tipping over. (Submitted/Jamie Graham)

VIDEO: Dramatic water rescue off Vancouver Island

Passengers on a BC Ferries vessel watched as a kayaker was pulled from the Pacific Ocean near Victoria.

A dramatic rescue played out today when a kayaker flipped over in the rough waters near Victoria at the the Swartz Bay ferry terminal.

Jamie Graham was aboard the Queen of Cumberland destined to the provincial capital from Pender Island, when he says the captain came over the loudspeaker to inform passengers about a rescue operation just before 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

“They announced it on the ferry that we would be delayed for a rescue,” Graham told Black Press media. “There was a guy in a kayak that had flipped over. I don’t know why he chose to kayak today.”

Passenger Keijo Isomaa was on the starboard side of the forward section of the boat, and after hearing the announcement he started looking, ultimately spotting him just off the bow.

“I stood up and looked around for someone on the crew, couldn’t see anybody, and so I quickly went back to the food service area and I said, ‘Hey, the kayak’s right over there!’ She phoned up to the bridge right away,” said Isomaa.

The ferry continued ahead slowly for some time, and Isomaa was concerned the bridge crew had not noticed him. Isomaa said the vessel was several hundred feet ahead of the kayak before it began to reverse. It was then a Sea Tow inflatable sped by, and quickly pulled the man into the inflatable as well as his kayak.

“[The kayaker] must have been OK because the boat didn’t immediately go back, it turned around and picked up the kayak and the paddle,” explained Graham, who noted the weather was quite rough at the time.

Adam Coolidge, with C-Tow Sidney, was on his way to deliver parts to a broken down tugboat when he heard the call. A former rescue diver, Coolidge and his navigator Bruce Pickard diverted from Tsehum Harbour to the man, who by then was behind the ferry. His boat was designed to handle the rough conditions, and so he was able to scoop up the man and his kayak. A Sea King helicopter also came to assist, but the man was already on his way to land.

A spokesperson with BC Ferries says radio distress calls were placed by the kayaker and both the Queen of Cumberland and Skeena Queen responded. A rescue boat was launched, but not before rescuers in the zodiac were able to assist the kayaker.

Both ferries were slightly delayed by the rescue operation. The condition of the man is not known by press time, but Coolidge said the man was able to walk when he arrived onshore where paramedics took over.

Weather conditions have also cancelled sailings today between Hornby Island and Denman Island east.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

(Keijo Isomaa)

Crews responded to a kayaker in trouble in the Salish Sea near Sidney this afternoon. This photo was taken by a passenger on a BC Ferries vessel. (Keijo Isomaa)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Comox Valley Community Foundation allots more COVID-19 emergency response money

11 local groups share $52,500 in latest round of grant distribution

Dog rescued from bottom of well by Oyster River Fire Department

Mini the chihuahua mix fell more than 20 feet

Mega 50/50 draw to raise funds for Comox Valley kids

Help Fill A Dream 50/50 draw worth up to $25,000

Search and rescue crews continue to look for missing Black Creek hiker

Searchers scouring Strathcona Park near Gold River for experienced 65-year-old on 40-kilometre trek

Piercy Creek habitat assessment project launched

For more than 20 years, Millard/Piercy Watershed Stewards have worked to enhance… Continue reading

MOTIVATION MONDAY: A balancing act

Raida Bolton leads the class for today’s routine

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Most Read