2 crew members fall into water during BC Ferries safety drill

One crew member is injured after rescue boat mechanism fails, causing it to fall from the ferry

A pair of BC Ferries crew members accidentally fell in the water at the Swartz Bay terminal in North Saanich Wednesday afternoon.

According to Deborah Marshall, a spokesperson for BC Ferries, the crew of the Queen of Cumberland were performing a rescue boat drill, and two crew members were in a boat as it was being raised onto the ferry. The mechanism that raises and lowers the boat, called a davit, failed, causing the rescue boat and its crew to fall into the water. BC Ferries deployed their own rescue boat and pulled them out of the water.

One crew member was injured, and both were transported to hospital for assessment. Both were wearing survival suits.

The Joint Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (JRCC), operated by the Canadian Forces, stated they had dispatched a rescue boat out of Ganges on Salt Spring Island, but recalled it within three minutes of the initial call at around 1 p.m. In an initial report, the crew managed to self-rescue and no injuries were reported to the Centre, but that was later amended.

Emergency personnel from the Saanich Peninsula were also called to the accident after initial reports of injuries. Reports that the crew members were trapped were not accurate.

BC Ferries has cancelled the rest of the day’s sailings for the Queen of Cumberland as they investigate the cause of the failure.

Updated at 2:42 p.m. with additional information from BC Ferries.

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