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Victoria firefighters on training exercise rescue boater at Esquimalt Lagoon

Victoria Fire Department crews conducting a training exercise in the Inner Harbour on Tuesday afternoon ended up helping to rescue a man whose vessel had overturned. The fire department’s boat was in the Inner Harbour about 2:50 p.m.

Victoria Fire Department crews conducting a training exercise in the Inner Harbour on Tuesday afternoon ended up helping to rescue a man whose vessel had overturned.

The fire department’s boat was in the Inner Harbour about 2:50 p.m. when a mayday call came over the marine radio, said Acting Capt. Chad Verch.

The call said a man in the area of Esquimalt Lagoon was yelling for help, he said.

“We were there in about 10 minutes to find about a 12-foot aluminum rowboat-type vessel with a man clinging to the top of it.”

The man was barely visible above the waterline, Verch said.

A Department of National Defence boat was also at the scene and its crew was able to pull the man aboard, he said.

“We were right beside them,” Verch said. “He was showing some early signs of hypothermia, so we took him from that boat because we have first-responder supplies.”

The fire boat took the man to shore at Fleming Beach, where he was put in a waiting ambulance and transported to hospital by paramedics.

The man was shivering, but was conscious and looked to be doing fine, Verch said.

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