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Sailor rescued in high winds near Mill Bay

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What's on The Zone @ 91-3 ::


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MONKEY WRENCH @ Darcys @ Darcy's Pub

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Hang The DJ @ Lucky Bar

Sailor rescued in high winds near Mill Bay

Mar 13 2012

Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliaries rescued a sailor after heavy winds pushed his vessel aground Monday near Mill Bay.

Coast guard spokesman Dan Bate called the rescue "not terribly dramatic."

Bate said coast guard officials answered nearly 400 phone calls. Together with coast guard auxiliaries, they responded to 18 marine incidents between Campbell River and the Canada-U.S. border as a result of the storm.

Meanwhile, the east coast of the Island took the worst of Monday's high winds, which knocked out power to thousands of homes, said B.C. Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk.

"The Courtenay area was hit quite hard. They're at over 26,000 customers [without power]."

During the storm, Campbell River had more than 18,000 homes without power and the Nanaimo area had 7,000.

Olynyk said: "Some areas, like the Gulf Islands, we're not going to be able to attend to. One of the reasons is because the ferries have been cancelled to the outlying areas."

Another reason is that most of the smaller islands are fed from Vancouver Island, so the more central lines had to be dealt with first.

Although most power will be back on by today, the wait will be longer in some spots, Olynyk said. The small north Island centre of Zeballos, for example, will be without power until today because of difficulties with road access. Some Gulf Islands residents will also have to wait until today for the power to come back on.

"It depends where you live and how much damage is nearby," Olynyk said.

Highway 19 between Parksville and Campbell River was closed temporarily in both directions because of trees across the road. West of Campbell River, Highway 28 was also closed in both directions due to downed hydro wires. Mount Washington Road, to the junction of Highway 19, was also closed during the morning because of a massive dump of snow and whiteout conditions.

The Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre said the coast guard's environmental-response unit wass monitoring a large boat called the Dominion 1 in Cowichan Bay. It was of risk of a fuel spill.

On March 2, Cowichan Bay resident Daniel Helmer expressed his worry that the derelict fishing boat's anchor would break and the craft would drift and damage other vessels moored in the bay.

His worst fears almost came true early Monday morning.

High winds uprooted the Japanese-built ship's anchor, causing it to drift deeper into the bay.

"I thought it was going to break the anchors," Helmer said. "It just finally pulled the anchors up. The storm just pulled it up and off it went. It drifted quite a ways."

Coast Guard spokesman Dan Bate said the 40-year old, 46-metre Dominion 1 drifted west nearly half a kilometre.

"We believe it moved approximately 1,500 feet from its original position," Bate said. "The vessel appears to be holding anchor where it is right now."

Helmer called the situation unbelievable.

"But at least it didn't go into the [marina]," he said.

Early Monday, coast guard crews began to mobilize and survey the scene. They were preparing to tow the Dominion 1 back into the middle of the bay and away from any other vessels in the area.

The Dominion 1 wasn't the only boat affected by the storm.

"It's quite a mess down there," Helmer said of the boats in the bay. He now fears another craft anchored in the bay is going to sink. He said he couldn't tell for sure but he believed two of that ship's masts hadsnapped.

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