B.C. Ferries crew save kayaker in nighttime rescue off Island

The crew of B.C. Ferries’ MV Quinitsa rescued a kayaker calling for help off the east coast of Vancouver Island on Friday night.

The ferry was docked at Denman Island, unloading passengers and vehicles after its last run of the day, when a call for assistance from the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre came in at 9:45 p.m.

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A concerned citizen had seen and heard the woman cries of distress.

Five minutes later, in the near-dark, the ferry’s rescue boat had been launched for a search-and-rescue operation to find a kayaker.

The crew located the woman within six minutes, about one nautical mile north of the Buckley Bay terminal, said Cpl. Edward Labonte of the rescue centre. The rescue boat took the woman to shore, where RCMP and B.C. Ambulance paramedics were waiting.

The rescue boat crew also towed the kayak to shore, and the woman picked it up Saturday afternoon, said B.C. Ferries’ spokeswoman Deborah Marshall.

The Quinitsa operates between Buckley Bay and Denman Island, a distance of 1.2 nautical miles. Buckley Bay is about 20 kilometres south of Courtenay.

Marshall said the rescue centre contacted B.C. Ferries and “credited the crew with saving the individual’s life.”

“We are very proud of their actions,” she said. “Events like this one show that all of their training and the drills they routinely conduct are invaluable out on the water.”

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