At 3:20 p.m. the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue unit from Prince Rupert responded to a PAN PAN call for immediate medical assistance for a crew member on a fishing vessel.
When the RCM-SAR 64 reached the vessel, approximately 20 miles out by Qlawdzeet Anchorage, west of Kinahan Islands, 30 minutes later, the Canadian Coast Guard was already at the scene and helping the crew member in their open Hurricane Zodiac 753.
“Anytime we deal with medical, the rescue centre always wants a closed cabin with heat, for obvious reasons,” Marko Kessler, a RCM-SAR station leader, said.
The two crews from Prince Rupert worked together to get the patient on a stretcher and into RCM-SAR’s closed heated vessel, but the move was complicated by four and five-foot waves as well as 25-knot winds. The medic from the coast guard boarded with the patient and stayed with them the whole way, Kessler said.
Back in Prince Rupert, an ambulance was on standby for the patient.
In a Facebook post detailing the event, RCM-SAR called it a “fantastic inter-agency collaboration … to assist patient in need.”
Both the coast guard and RCM-SAR 64 cover 1,800 nautical square miles off the coast of Prince Rupert.
“Basically from the Alaska border down to Hartley Bay and halfway across Hecate Strait. It’s pretty huge,” Kessler said. “We supplement each other, if you will.”