BC Ferries cancels four sailings between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen

Spirit of Vancouver Island out of service due to incident involving a rescue boat

  • Aug. 31, 2018 7:30 a.m.

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.

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.

RELATED: Fundraiser for worker injured in BC Ferries training

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.

READ MORE: BC Ferries cancels sailings over propulsion problem

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.

READ MORE: BC Ferries removes fuel rebates for travellers

BC Ferries suggests service users follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit Current Conditions at www.bcferries.com or call 1-888-223-3779 for up-to-date information.

ALSO READ: Behind the wheel of a BC Ferries ferry


 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

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