Man pulled from waters off Gabriola Island

Crew members from the B.C. ferry M.V. Quinsam and the Nanaimo Harbour Patrol pulled a man from the water after his canoe capsized Sunday.

Capt. Colin Henthorne, Canadian Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Centre spokesman, said emergency responders were called out at about 5 p.m. when a woman driving by Descanso Bay on Gabriola Island heard cries for help coming from the bay and spotted a man in the water.

The man, age 60 to 70, had been paddling out to his boat anchored in the bay when his canoe capsized.

“He swam over and clung to the side of his vessel anchored in the bay and that’s what he ended up clinging onto,” Henthorne said.

The B.C. ferry M.V. Quinsam launched a rescue boat and Nanaimo Harbour Patrol dispatched its patrol boat NPA Osprey to the scene.

Henthorne said the man was in the water for about 30 minutes.

“When it’s cold like that you lose your mobility very quickly,” Henthorne said.

The victim was taken to an ambulance waiting at the Descanso Bay Ferry Terminal.

Deborah Marshall, B.C. Ferries spokeswoman, said both the Queen of Alberni and the M.V. Quinsam were altered to the emergency. The man was pulled from the water within two minutes of the Quinsam’s crew launching its rescue boat.

“They thought the man was hypothermic and he was taken to hospital,” she said.

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