Oak Bay Sea Rescue honoured with national award

The award marks team’s work last summer in an 11-hour search for two missing men

  • Oct. 12, 2012 8:00 a.m.

Oak Bay Sea Rescue Society team members include

They are all volunteers, yet they are as professional a group of men as you could hope to find.

They are members of the the Oak Bay Sea Rescue Society, Unit 33, and on Sept. 30 they were honoured at the annual general meeting of the Royal Canadian Search and Rescue Society.

The award comes in recognition of the team’s work last July when it was involved in what started out as a routine call but ended with an 11-hour search for two missing men whose canoe capsized in the treacherous waters of Baynes Channel.

One man was rescued by the crew while a second man died in the accident.

The death of that man makes the award a bittersweet recognition.

“The second man’s body was recovered a month later to the day,” said Jurgen Pokrandt, one of the sea rescue volunteers involved in the search. “Of course, we’re glad we rescued the one man, but we wish we had found his friend as well.”

The man who was rescued had managed to cling to a concrete marker known as Tod Rock and was suffering with hypothermia when found, but he did manage to tell the crew that a second man was in the water.

It was at that time that the crew became aware, not only of the second man, but that both of the boaters were known to one of the rescue team members.

Nathan Leung, one of the Unit 33 crew, had attended school and played soccer with both men for a few years. Still, that personal relationship never interfered with the team’s work.

“We were just focused on searching . . . so we were very professional about it,” said Leung. “The team searched every little nook and cranny out there.”

Unit 33 responds to about 55 calls a year.

“We’re always looking for new members,” said Kim Bentzon. “We will train anyone who’s interested in giving their time to the service.”

The unit trains several days a month, combining time on the water with dry land training. That training is rigorous, but then, it has to be.

“This is a serious business,” said Bentzon. “We’re not just out on a boat ride. It’s a whole different world out there.”

Unit 33 has about 40 members who work one week out of four on an alternating shift schedule. They’re part of the overall volunteer force of about a thousand volunteers who work out of 45 stations in B.C.

The remaining members of the Unit 33 crew who were honoured with the award are Chris Life, Jerry Hunter, Christine Rikley, Paul McDonnell and Andrew Whale.

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich driver races to Chairman’s Trophy in Mission

Bill Okell has driven the same race car for 44 years

Local school districts gear up for the new back to school season

Seismic upgrades, inclusion and student safety are priorities

Camosun’s continuing education site a quick hit

Hundreds of courses available to launch new career opportunities

B.C. police watchdog investigating high-speed crash in Victoria

Police watchdog called in after dramatic early morning crash at Bay and Douglas intersection

VIDEO: RCMP officer killed in the line of duty remembered ‘through the laughter of children’

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Most Read