Eye injury sparks rescue

Search and rescue technicians hoist injured seaman to safety

An RCAF Search and Rescue crew from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron raced to the scene 30 nautical miles northwest of Tofino Monday to rescue an injured fisherman.

According to Marine Communications and Traffic Services in Tofino, the man had sustained a potentially serious eye injury while working aboard a 20-metre commercial fishing vessel.

The Cormorant helicopter crew was launched from their base at 19 Wing Comox shortly before 5 p.m.

Once arriving on scene, the crew had to locate a safe place to hoist the Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) on board.

“We couldn’t hoist the SAR Techs to the bow or stern as there were obstacles like the smokestack, antennas and the bridge in the way,” said Captain Aaron Noble, First Officer. “We lowered the SAR Techs mid-ship, which made for a challenging rescue.”

Once on the deck, the SAR Techs stabilized the man and placed him into a rescue basket to be hoisted to the helicopter.

“The ship was pitching up and down, but we were able to hoist the patient and the SAR techs back up as we hovered about 60 feet over the deck,” said Corporal Kent Campbell, Flight Engineer, who operated the hoist during the delicate operation.

Once on board the helicopter, SAR Techs continued treatment for the man until he was transferred to the care of BC Ambulance upon arrival at 19 Wing Comox at 7:20 p.m. He was taken to local hospital in stable condition.



• SS Athinai was a Greek  trans-Atlantic steamer that was commissioned in 1908 to operate between Greece and New York City. On Sept. 13, 1915 she left New York City with 438 passengers and 70 crew, along with a cargo of rice, cotton and coffee.

Just five days out of port, a fire started in one of the holds. The captain ordered the hold sealed and for pressurized steam to be pumped in. It seemed to work. However, on the next day, Sept. 19, 1915, they found the fire had begun anew and quiclky grew out of control.

The captain sent out an SOS and several ships responded, including the liner SS Tuscania, which ferried passengers from the stricken ship.

Only one man died after jumping overboard in the confusion. However, an investigation later turned up two suspected German spies on board, who were found to have both high explosives and ship-mountable explosive devices and maps of New York Harbour in an apartment and storage unit.


The two men, Robert Fay and Walter Scholz, were charged with conspiracy to destroy a vehicle and Fay later confessed to in fact being a German spy.



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