Boater airlifted out of Jervis Inlet

Christine Wood/Staff Writer / Staff writer
March 3, 2014 01:00 AM

First responders airlifted a seriously injured man from a beach in Jervis Inlet after the 24-year-old crashed his aluminum boat into a rocky shoreline on Feb. 27.

The man was travelling from Egmont to the Malibu Club when the accident happened about 26 km north of Egmont on Thursday. Immediately after the crash he activated the locator beacon onboard his boat.

"At 5 p.m. we got called by our mission coordination centre in Trenton. What they do is monitor distress beacons that operate to satellites," said Jeff Olsson of the Joint Rescue Coordinator Centre (JRCC) in Victoria. "It's an international system that aircraft, planes and also personal beacons use to announce distress. This one was called a personal locator beacon so you press a button and it says 'come get me I'm in trouble.'"When the JRCC couldn't contact the captain of the boat they dispatched the Powell River Coast Guard as well as a search and rescue plane and helicopter that were stationed in Abbotsford.

Just before rescue crews arrived, Olsson said the JRCC received a call from a worker at the Malibu Club who said she had been contacted by the injured boater.

"She'd got a call by SAT phone by a couple of loggers in the area who had been flagged down by the gentleman," Olsson said. "What had happened was the 24-year-old male, who was by himself on the 16 or 18 foot aluminum boat, had roared into the shoreline at speed, which left a big two-foot hole in the bottom of the boat and significant injuries to himself."

The search and rescue helicopter was used to lower paramedics onto the beach to attend to the man as there was no where safe to land.

After treating him on scene, the helicopter hoisted the man from the beach via a cable and took him to the Powell River airport where he was transferred to an air ambulance that flew him directly to Vancouver General Hospital. There he was treated for serious, but non-life threatening injuries, Olsson said.

The Coast Guard managed to salvage the man's boat and a local water taxi towed it back to Egmont for repair.

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