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.

Weather conditions have also cancelled sailings today between Hornby Island and Denman Island east.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

(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

‘Justice for Mona’ rally planned for Surrey

Security camera footage shows Mona Wang being dragged, stepped on during RCMP wellness check at UBCO

Sources receives $70K from SurreyCares

Funds will help with warehouse space for food programs in Surrey, White Rock, Langley

Drive-in movies coming to Cloverdale

Dolittle, Trolls World Tour playing one night each at rodeo grounds

Rooftop hatchlings ‘a nice addition’ to White Rock RCMP operations

Pair of seagull chicks hatched in ‘fenced playground’ on July 2

COVID-19: ‘Contactless’ donation drive in Surrey to help women in need

Items needed for women in shelters, transition houses in the Lower Mainland

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Police nab three impaired drivers in one night in Maple Ridge

Ridge Meadows RCMP served 80 impaired driving infractions in June

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read