A Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue vessel patrols the waters around Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)

A Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue vessel patrols the waters around Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)

Marine search and rescue volunteers help with Christmas Eve emergency in Bamfield

Alberni Responder teamed with BCAS to bring patient to hospital when road became impassable

Volunteers with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue—Station 39 spent their Christmas Eve doing what they do best: rescuing a person.

At 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24 Station 39 was tasked to help BC Ambulance Service retrieve a patient from Bamfield. “An elderly person was ill and required medical attention,” said Station 39 coxswain Ian Arklie.

“The roads were impassable and the JRCC (Joint Rescue Coordination Centre) advised the (Canadian) Coast Guard was not available.”

A crew of four and two paramedics left the dock at Port Alberni at 6:30 p.m. and made their way down the Alberni Inlet.

“The visibility was reduced due to fog and as a result of higher than normal tides, there was considerable wood in the water and this made for slower transit,” the spokesperson said.

RELATED: Alberni’s marine SAR unit relies on volunteers, local donors to keep afloat

The elderly patient was loaded into the Alberni Responder vessel in Bamfield and the crew carefully returned to Port Alberni, arriving at 3 a.m. Christmas morning. The patient was transferred to an ambulance and taken to West Coast General Hospital (WCGH) for treatment. The person’s condition is unknown.

“We have been very active lately, particularly with nighttime runs to Bamfield providing assistance to BC Ambulance Services by transporting people who are sick or injured and require medical treatment at WCGH,” said Arklie, one of four coxswains with RCMSAR Stn. 39.

“We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with BCAS and have been assisting them with patients since July.”



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

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