RCM-SAR, station 12, Halfmoon Bay’s constant training efforts paid off on Saturday, Oct. 6, as the duty crew was tasked to three incidents.
Just before 5 p.m. a code two — a signal that is used to signify an urgent situation concerning the safety of a vessel, aircraft, vehicle or person — was received from the joint rescue coordination centre (JRCC).
“Apparently there was a 17-foot pleasure craft with three people on board in distress near Nine Mile Point in Salmon Inlet,” said unit media liaison Drew McKee. “Station 12’s fast response vessel (FRV), the Ken Moore, was tasked to deal with the situation. The rescue boat was stood down just as it reached the entrance to the Skookumchuck. It seems that the distressed vessel’s situation had been resolved and RCM-SAR assistance was no longer needed.”
McKee said a FRV crew member, whose responsibility it was to monitor radio traffic, then heard talk of an explosion near Vanguard Bay on Nelson Island.
“As the Ken Moore was nearby, it was decided to investigate,” said McKee. “On reaching Telescope Passage, between Hardy and Nelson islands, the crew could see a helicopter dumping buckets of water on cabins and the area around them on Hardy Island. The Ken Moore called the JRCC with a situation report and the crew was assigned to stand by and provide support as things transpired.”
McKee said the Ken Moore’s fire pump was put to work to assist those ashore. The Ken Moore’s crew kept track of firefighters (local residents) ashore and used hand-held radios to communicate with the RCM-SAR vessel, which relayed communications between the fire site and Comox Coast Guard Radio.
It was getting dark when the crew received a message that Station 61’s FRV, the Iona C, was heading towards the area with firefighters and equipment on board. Station 12 was stood down and proceeded to pack up and return to base after a good number of hours of emergency response.
But just when crews thought they were done for the night, another radio call came in — the Iona C was having engine problems in Agamemnon Channel and CCGR called the Ken Moore to assist.
Station 12’s vessel was tasked to locate the Iona C and transfer the firefighters and their gear to the site of the fire. The Ken Moore was then assigned to stay on the scene while the firefighters made an assessment of the situation.
Just after midnight the Ken Moore was tasked to deliver one of the fire fighters to Madeira Park and then return to base and normal operation around 1:45 a.m.