It was a record-setting weekend for the Richmond volunteer search and rescue team — and for all the wrong reasons.
A total of 96 person hours of marine search and rescue time were put in by the local Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Station 10 team.
Three emergency “taskings,” three non-emergency taskings and two fireworks patrols completed a busy old BC Day long weekend for the team.
On Friday, crews responded to two emergency situations on the Fraser River outside of Steveston. First, crews aboard the RCMSAR Jimmy Ng responded to a capsized vessel just south of the George Massey Tunnel.
The vessel, with two people on board, struck a rock and quickly began to take on water, resulting in all on board abandoning ship.
The Jimmy Ng responded along with the CCG Hovercraft, both arriving on scene only minutes later. Fortunately, all people in the water were recovered by a nearby vessel before the hovercraft transported them to shore and into an ambulance.
Meanwhile, the Jimmy Ng secured the overturned vessel and ensured no other people were in the water.
Later on Friday, at around 11 p.m., the Jimmy Ng responded to a disabled vessel outside of Steveston. The one person on board thought he had dropped anchor but the strong current of the Fraser River swept his vessel hard onto the wood wall. The Jimmy Ng arrived on scene and located the vessel, which was sitting on the wood wall, leaning approximately 25 degrees to its side. In danger of capsizing, crews quickly recovered the lone male onto the Jimmy Ng before attempting to recover the vessel.
“Despite a strong five knot current that made handling (the) Jimmy Ng extremely difficult, crews successful recovered the 22 ft vessel from its precarious position,” wrote the crew’s Brian Hobbs in an email.
“The crew safely towed the vessel into Steveston by 1 a.m. for the waiting wife.”
In anticipation of a busy night, RCMSAR crews aboard the Jimmy Ng went out for some training on Monday night.
While training, the Jimmy Ng was called over the radio for a medical emergency as a 9-year-old girl suffered a seizure downriver from Steveston.
“In only a three-minute response, the crew recovered the girl from the disabled vessel and stabilized her along with the distraught father,” said Hobbs.
“The crew then quickly transported the girl and her father to a waiting BC Ambulance in Steveston.”
The girl was transported to Vancouver Children’s Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
In addition, RCMSAR’s B.R. Hastings vessel conducted two fireworks patrols on Wednesday (Aug. 1) and Saturday (Aug. 4).
Throughout both patrols, RCMSAR members checked dozens of Richmond vessels in and around the north arm of the Fraser River.
RCMSAR crews attended to three other non-emergency missions, towing each disabled vessel safely into Richmond and preventing further incidents.
RCMSAR Station 10 is Richmond only volunteer emergency service and operates 24/7. Station 10 is currently recruiting volunteers to act as SAR crew and support crew. Call 604-227-9909 or firstname.lastname@example.org.