Search and rescue crew picks up boaters

NANAIMO – 19 Wing Comox Cormorant helicopter crew from 442 Squadron busy with two marine rescue operations near Nanaimo Wednesday.

A Cormorant helicopter crew was busy conducting two rescue operations near Nanaimo Wednesday night.

The crew from Royal Canadian Air Force 19 Wing Comox 442 Squadron were called out by the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Victoria to an eight-metre long sailboat that issued a distress call after its mooring line broke near Nanoose Bay.

The Cormorant found the sailboat grounded shortly after it lifted off at 7:40 p.m.

“We orbited on scene providing illumination and directed a boat from Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue 27 from Nanaimo and Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape Cockburn to the scene,” said Capt. Mike O’Brien, aircraft commander, in a news release.

A man was removed safely from the boat by members of search and rescue who brought him back to Nanaimo.

Shortly after the Cormorant departed Nanoose Bay, the co-ordination centre received another report, this time of two overdue canoeists somewhere between Yellow Point and Ladysmith.

The helicopter’s crew began a shoreline search of the area and soon spotted the canoeists on shore.

“One of the men was waving his cellphone at us from the tree line near Coffin Point,” O’Brien said.

“We found a good open area on the beach and landed there at 9 p.m.”

Search and rescue technicians on board the helicopter found the two middle-aged men wet and cold, but in stable condition.

Their canoe had been swamped by high waves.

The men were flown to Nanaimo Airport shortly after 9 p.m.

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