The Queen of the North ferry ran aground and sank about 150 kilometres out of Prince Rupert on its way to Port Hardy early Wednesday morning.
BC Ferries says there were 101 people (59 passengers and 42 crew) on board the 125-metre vessel and all were evacuated safely. A few were treated for minor injuries.
It happened in Wright Sound at approximately 12:43 a.m. Wednesday, when the vessel hit a rock off Gil Island.
The mayday went out at 12:25 pm Tuesday, and the first responder was a fishboat from Hartley Bay. Both the military and the Coast Guard then responded, and at one point there were six Coast Guard vessels involved.
All onboard were able to get to the vessel’s lifeboats, and the fact that no one was injured seriously is nothing short of miraculous, according to David Hahn, president of BC Ferries.
Some passengers and crew have been taken to Hartley Bay, about 120 kilometres south of Prince Rupert. Others are on the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Sir Wilfred Laurier. All will be taken to Prince Rupert by the Coast Guard and are expected to arrive there about 5:00 Wednesday afternoon. Eleven others were taken by Coast Guard helicopter to Prince Rupert this morning.
The Coast Guard vessel Sir Wilfred Laurier was on the scene by 2:15 a.m.
Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board have been notified. The RCMP is also going to investigate.
The Queen of the North left Prince Rupert at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday bound for Port Hardy. It was sailing in 2-metre seas at the time of the grounding. It took about an hour for the vessel to sink, allowing time for it to be evacuated safely.
The vessel was built in Germany in 1969. Its last major accident was when it ran aground in Gunboat Passage in the early 1980s.
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