Oak Bay Sea Rescue honoured with national award

The award marks team’s work last summer in an 11-hour search for two missing men

  • Oct. 12, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Oak Bay Sea Rescue Society team members include

They are all volunteers, yet they are as professional a group of men as you could hope to find.

They are members of the the Oak Bay Sea Rescue Society, Unit 33, and on Sept. 30 they were honoured at the annual general meeting of the Royal Canadian Search and Rescue Society.

The award comes in recognition of the team’s work last July when it was involved in what started out as a routine call but ended with an 11-hour search for two missing men whose canoe capsized in the treacherous waters of Baynes Channel.

One man was rescued by the crew while a second man died in the accident.

The death of that man makes the award a bittersweet recognition.

“The second man’s body was recovered a month later to the day,” said Jurgen Pokrandt, one of the sea rescue volunteers involved in the search. “Of course, we’re glad we rescued the one man, but we wish we had found his friend as well.”

The man who was rescued had managed to cling to a concrete marker known as Tod Rock and was suffering with hypothermia when found, but he did manage to tell the crew that a second man was in the water.

It was at that time that the crew became aware, not only of the second man, but that both of the boaters were known to one of the rescue team members.

Nathan Leung, one of the Unit 33 crew, had attended school and played soccer with both men for a few years. Still, that personal relationship never interfered with the team’s work.

“We were just focused on searching . . . so we were very professional about it,” said Leung. “The team searched every little nook and cranny out there.”

Unit 33 responds to about 55 calls a year.

“We’re always looking for new members,” said Kim Bentzon. “We will train anyone who’s interested in giving their time to the service.”

The unit trains several days a month, combining time on the water with dry land training. That training is rigorous, but then, it has to be.

“This is a serious business,” said Bentzon. “We’re not just out on a boat ride. It’s a whole different world out there.”

Unit 33 has about 40 members who work one week out of four on an alternating shift schedule. They’re part of the overall volunteer force of about a thousand volunteers who work out of 45 stations in B.C.

The remaining members of the Unit 33 crew who were honoured with the award are Chris Life, Jerry Hunter, Christine Rikley, Paul McDonnell and Andrew Whale.

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria hotel trashes Channing Tatum in favour of B.C.’s Ryan Reynolds

Tatum’s picture left in recycling bin, replaced with photo of Ryan Reynolds

Unhealthy disagreement sees three First Nations chiefs take government to court

Claim and counter-claim: B.C.’s First Nations health department and administrator end up in court.

One arrested, weapons, and drugs seized in Sooke bust

During the Feb. 6 raid, police found firearms, ammunition, drugs, and brass knuckles

Saanich intersections rank as Island’s three worst

Intersection of Admirals Road, McKenzie Avenue, and the Trans-Canada Highway had the most crashes

New tutorial ‘Whales in our Waters’ launched by BC Ferries

A new tutorial has been launched for mariners and the general public about whales in the Salish Sea

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

Man shot dead in front of Kamloops hotel may be case of mistaken identity: RCMP

Rex Gill, 44, was not previously known to Kamloops police unlike second shooting victim

Vancouver Island boys high school basketball bragging rights on the line

Oak Bay, Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Victoria host Island championships this weekend

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Super snow moon set to rise across B.C.

It is the biggest and brightest moon of the year

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

West coast group campaigns for seal, sea lion harvest

‘Salmon are going the way of the buffalo unless we do something’

Most Read