An RCMSAR West Vancouver crew took part in the dramatic rescue of four people forced to abandon their sinking vessel near Bowen Island.

On September 1, RCMSAR Station West Vancouver received the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre’s Mayday call at 4:21 p.m. Coxswain Roger Wagstaff and crew members Jake Brownlie, Mike Cupit and Hugh Kelsey departed base at 4:36 p.m., arriving on scene nine minutes later.

The crew spotted the distressed vessel, which had almost completely sunk – only the tip of the bow remained above water. Fortunately, the vessel’s four passengers had been plucked from the water by a vessel of opportunity and were all safe.

The West Vancouver crew transferred the four passengers over to their vessel, con firming that no one else had been onboard and ensuring that none of them needed medical attention. By this time the Coast Guard hovercraft Siyay arrived on scene and began dewatering and righting the vessel. The Coast Guard rescue craft Kitsilano I arrived moments later and boarded the West Vancouver vessel, ensuring that all passengers were safe and accounted for.

By 5:00 p.m. all involved resources agreed on a plan – the West Vancouver crew would take the four passengers to Horseshoe Bay while Kitsilano I recovered flotsam in the area and checked for pollution; the Siyay would tow the re-righted vessel into Horseshoe Bay.

At 5:15 p.m. the West Vancouver crew arrived at Horseshoe Bay and transferred the four passengers to a waiting shore crew headed by West Vancouver Coxswain Ian Grantham. The crew then headed out again to assist with the tow, taking over from the Coast Guard and bringing the vessel back to Horseshoe Bay by 6:15 p.m.

Thanks to all of the parties involved, this potentially deadly incident had a successful ending.

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