Nine people on a fishing trip were fortunate to have a lighthouse keeper and a Nanaimo Harbour Patrol craft nearby when their boat turned turtle near Entrance Island Monday.
The lighthouse keeper at Entrance Island was first to respond to the stricken 8-metre craft when its skipper radioed a distress call shortly after 2 p.m. and plucked people from the water and those and those still on board the vessel. They were transferred to the Nanaimo Harbour patrol boat MV Eagle, which was working near Protection Island and responded to the scene.
“We transferred the people to the MV Eagle and notified the various authorities that we had nine people on board, two potentially with hypothermia and one possibly with a heart condition,” said Edward Dahlgren, Nanaimo Port Authority harbour master and director of operations.
Dahlgren said it appeared the boat began taking on water at the stern, became swamped and lost stability, capsizing and dumping the crew and passengers into the water. He did not know why the boat took on water, but said something might have happened to cause a hull failure.
Dahlgren said the boat was a Grady-White sport fishing craft and that it and the people on board were from Richmond.
Everyone aboard was brought to F Dock in the Nanaimo Boat Basin where they were handed over to firefighters and paramedics.
No one was injured, but three people were taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for treatment.
Dahlgren said Transport Canada would be investigating the cause of the accident.