A kayaker had to be rescued from the chilly waters near Swartz Bay ferry terminal Wednesday afternoon after tipping over. (Submitted/Jamie Graham)

VIDEO: Dramatic water rescue off Vancouver Island

Passengers on a BC Ferries vessel watched as a kayaker was pulled from the Pacific Ocean near Victoria.

A dramatic rescue played out today when a kayaker flipped over in the rough waters near Victoria at the the Swartz Bay ferry terminal.

Jamie Graham was aboard the Queen of Cumberland destined to the provincial capital from Pender Island, when he says the captain came over the loudspeaker to inform passengers about a rescue operation just before 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

“They announced it on the ferry that we would be delayed for a rescue,” Graham told Black Press media. “There was a guy in a kayak that had flipped over. I don’t know why he chose to kayak today.”

Passenger Keijo Isomaa was on the starboard side of the forward section of the boat, and after hearing the announcement he started looking, ultimately spotting him just off the bow.

“I stood up and looked around for someone on the crew, couldn’t see anybody, and so I quickly went back to the food service area and I said, ‘Hey, the kayak’s right over there!’ She phoned up to the bridge right away,” said Isomaa.

The ferry continued ahead slowly for some time, and Isomaa was concerned the bridge crew had not noticed him. Isomaa said the vessel was several hundred feet ahead of the kayak before it began to reverse. It was then a Sea Tow inflatable sped by, and quickly pulled the man into the inflatable as well as his kayak.

“[The kayaker] must have been OK because the boat didn’t immediately go back, it turned around and picked up the kayak and the paddle,” explained Graham, who noted the weather was quite rough at the time.

Adam Coolidge, with C-Tow Sidney, was on his way to deliver parts to a broken down tugboat when he heard the call. A former rescue diver, Coolidge and his navigator Bruce Pickard diverted from Tsehum Harbour to the man, who by then was behind the ferry. His boat was designed to handle the rough conditions, and so he was able to scoop up the man and his kayak. A Sea King helicopter also came to assist, but the man was already on his way to land.

A spokesperson with BC Ferries says radio distress calls were placed by the kayaker and both the Queen of Cumberland and Skeena Queen responded. A rescue boat was launched, but not before rescuers in the zodiac were able to assist the kayaker.

Both ferries were slightly delayed by the rescue operation. The condition of the man is not known by press time, but Coolidge said the man was able to walk when he arrived onshore where paramedics took over.

 

(Keijo Isomaa)

Crews responded to a kayaker in trouble in the Salish Sea near Sidney this afternoon. This photo was taken by a passenger on a BC Ferries vessel. (Keijo Isomaa)

Just Posted

Victoria landmarks to glow red in honour of World Tuberculosis Day

1,600 new cases of active TB reported in Canada every year

Victoria bowler strikes gold at World Special Olympics Games

Hours of training at Langford Lanes paved the way to gold for Patrick Reid

Colwood discusses parcel tax to help pay for sewer repair and replacement

Report submitted to committee recommends parcel tax for all residents

UPDATE: Missing 12-year-old girl found

Victora police say missing youth has been found and is safe

The blind lead the blind at the Pacific Training Centre

Centre specializes in teaching visually impaired people everyday skills to live an independent life

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Wildlife activists slam B.C. business, clubs for ‘wolf-whacking’ contests

Chilcotin Guns, Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club and West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club under fire

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Most Read