On a historically high traffic weekend, BC Ferries announced that four sailings between Victoria and Vancouver were cancelled on Friday morning due to an accident involving two employees and a rescue boat.
It happened during an early morning rescue drill when something went wrong, the boat tilted, and the employees were thrown into the water, according to Deborah Marshall with BC Ferries. An investigation is underway.
Other rescue boats involved in the drill helped drag the people out of the water and an ambulance took them to hospital with unknown injuries. Marshall could not say how far the employees fell, but acknowledged it was near the height of the passenger deck.
Transport Canada has since cleared the Spirit of Vancouver Island and it will continue sailing beginning at 3 p.m.
The cancelled sailings are:
- 7 a.m. departing Swartz Bay terminal
- 9 a.m. departing Tsawwassen terminal
- 11 a.m. departing Swartz Bay terminal
- 1 p.m. departing Tsawwassen terminal
In response to long weekend traffic demand, BC Ferries says they are adding an 11 p.m. sailing from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay.
#ServiceNotice #Tsawwassen – #SwartzBay Please be aware the #SpiritofVancouverIsland cancelled two round trips. We will refund premiums for customers reserved on these sailings. The vessel is expected to return for the 3:00pm departure from Swartz Bay. https://t.co/luNNgj4yOx ^gl
— BC Ferries (@BCFerries) August 31, 2018
Reports indicate that two BC Ferries employees were injured during a rescue drill, which isn’t the first time an incident like this has led to delays or cancellations. Earlier this year a worker was seriously injured during a training incident at Swartz Bay.
A mechanism for hoisting a rescue boat from the water broke, sending it and two people into the water. One of the men in that incident suffered a fractured knee, six broken ribs, a punctured lung and damaged his back. He spent a week in intensive care and the trauma ward at Victoria General Hospital.
Other technical problems on the Spirit of Vancouver Island in May cancelled a number of round trip sailings between the two major destinations after problems with the propulsion control system. This led to long lines and angry travellers.
These cancellations ahead of the last long weekend of the summer also come just months after BC Ferries announced it was removing fuel rebates, meaning customers have been paying more since June. Those rebates had been offered since 2016 , and the last time there was a surcharge was in 2013.
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