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Sailor gets big-time rescue after running aground south of Victoria

A sailor got more than he probably expected when he called for help Wednesday. Shortly after 6 p.m.
HMCS Yellowknife, seen in a file photo, was involved in a marine rescue on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.

A sailor got more than he probably expected when he called for help Wednesday. 

Shortly after 6 p.m. a sailor in a 26-foot sailboat called 911 to say he had run aground while motoring in a strong current south of Race Rocks, about 20 kilometres southwest of Victoria. The sailor also put out a mayday call by radio.

It turns out two Royal Canadian Navy ships — HMCS Yellowknife and HMCS Winnipeg — and a Sea King helicopter were nearby on a training exercise.

All three responded; the sailor was hoisted off his foundering boat by the helicopter and eventually ferried to Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria.

Volunteers from Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue also responded to the scene.

Because the sailboat ran aground in the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, officials were quick to check for any potential environmental impacts — there were none — and would then remove the vessel from the area, said a spokesman from the Joint Rescue Command Centre.

Thursday morning, a contractor was able to remove the sailboat from where it ran aground and it’s now at an Esquimalt marina.