A paddleboarder bashed and immobilized in a ferry wake was rescued Sunday, Aug. 7 by a Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) team that had been training nearby, and some quick-thinking neighbours.
At about 11 a.m., as RCMSAR Station 14 team was practicing rescue docking maneuvers in Plumper Cove, off Keats Island. Meanwhile, about three kilometres away in Smith Cove, Katie Behboudi glided on a paddleboard.
Smith Cove is the second inlet after the Langdale ferry dock, going toward Port Mellon. As ferries cruise by, they generate strong waves that sweep toward shore. Such a wake tossed Behboudi off the paddleboard.
The board flipped and she shot into the air near a floating raft. As she came down, her arm hit the raft.
“My shoulder just popped,” Behboudi, a Grade 1 teacher and Langdale homeowner, said later.
Neighbour Marilyn Crichton, a former nurse, was nearby in the water. She saw Behboudi was wearing a life jacket. Crichton was able to grab on and help her injured neighbour toward shore. Another neighbour called 911 and asked for marine search and rescue.
“It took half an hour [for me] to get her close to shore,” said Crichton. “I was worried that she was starting to show signs of hypothermia.”
By then, many neighbors had gathered on the beach and Behboudi’s two young children stood by.
With her injury, Behboudi hurt too much to move.
Three neighbours managed to lift her onto a beach chair, which they positioned in the water. She could not get up and walk to shore, much less make it across rocks that stood between the beach and stairs mounting a 50-metre cliff to the road.
One of the many frantic calls at that point went to Marilyn’s husband, Ian Crichton, who is a RCMSAR volunteer and was engaged in the practice maneuvers. The RCMSAR boat soon arrived. Low tide allowed the rigid-hull inflatable to land close to Behboudi.
As Behboudi couldn’t lie down, the crew performed a four-handed seat lift in which two rescuers form a seat with their arms. They got her into the boat and then to the ferry terminal where an ambulance whisked Behboudi to Sechelt Hospital. In a few hours she was back at home, where she is recovering from a fractured shoulder.
Later Sunday, Ian and Marilyn Crichton joined other RCMSAR-14 supporters at the kick-off of a fundraiser at Leo’s Tapas and Grill restaurant in Gibsons. The Online Art Auction aims to raise funds to keep RCMSAR-14 equipped and ready to help people who find themselves in serious predicaments at sea.
RCMSAR assists thousands of people each year and performs a third of all marine rescues off of Canada.
Unlike the Coast Guard, which responds to emergencies some 14 kilometres out and beyond at sea, the closer-in rescues done by RCMSAR are not federal-government funded. To keep the RCMSAR service going, fundraising initiatives, such as the auction, are critical.
RCMSAR Station 14 serves the Sunshine Coast from Davis Bay to Port Mellon, including the islands. To learn more about the team and its rescue activities, go to www.rcmsar14.ca/ .To bid in the auction or view the art, follow the link on that page or see rcmsar14.ca. The auction continues until Aug. 28.