Summer busy for Sandspit Coast Guard

  • Aug. 26, 2005 8:00 p.m.

It’s been an action-packed summer for the Sandspit Coast Guard Station. In the past three weeks alone, it’s had five rescue calls. It’s impossible to say whether this is an increase over past years, said officer in charge Garry Deis, because this is the first year of operation for the station.
The first rescue call was an 8-metre pleasure cruiser that went aground near Lina Island, opposite Queen Charlotte. A woman on board fell off the bow and injured her head, and had to be medivaced. In a second incident, the Coast Guard took out the zodiac to rescue a sportsfishing charter client who was having a heart attack. In the third incident, a man was crushed and suffocated under tons of fish aboard a commercial fishing vessel. The man was rescued by crewmates who dug him out from under the fish pile, but the Coast Guard came and took him to the hospital. Although the man recovered, his face was “all swollen and purple,” said Mr. Deis, a sure sign of near-fatal suffocation. They were also called out to rescue a sportsfishing vessel that lost power in the narrows, and to pick up a boat floating with no passengers.
In other Coast Guard news, you may have noticed a lot of red helicopters buzzing around. A new radio repeater station is going in at Rose Inlet, up high on a mountain. Once it’s done, in the next few weeks, there will be much better range for VHF radio at the south end of the islands. “It’s a big project,” said Mr. Deis, and upgrade that has been planned for a long time.
Since it’s the station’s first year of operation, Mr. Deis says people are still getting used to them. “The word’s getting out about who we are and what we’re here for,” he said, “but people still have questions about who they should call.”