Four Sandspit residents are lucky to have survived a seaplane crash near Bella Bella on Friday.
Members of the RCMP West Coast Marine Service were not scheduled to be in the area when they heard a Mayday on the VHF radio of the RCMP vessel Lindsay at Shearwater. The plane had crashed and was on fire just north of St. John Harbour, near the south entrance of Seaforth Channel, approximately one hour from the vessel’s current location.
Sgt. Rob Pikola had Const. Roe and Const. Judd take the 733 Ridged Hull Inflatable fast response vessel to quickly arrive on-scene, with Pikola, Const. Miles and civilian member Butler arriving just under one hour later. Help for the passengers of the burning plane also came from an unexpected boar in nearby waters.
“Due to the quick response of our members involved, everyone on the downed Beaver floatplane received medical treatment within 30 minutes of the crash. Not only was it fortunate that we were close by, but there was a fishing charter boat in the area that had 6 medical doctors on board who were from the Williams Lake and Vanderhoof area,” said Pikola.
The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape Farewell also attended the scene, as well as search and rescue helicopters and Buffalo aircraft. Members of the Lindsay were able to assist with the transport of two passengers while two more seriously injured passengers were transported to the Bella Bella hospital by the Cape Farewell.
The aircraft was burned beyond recovery and was located just above the high tide line. The company that owns the seaplane was not identified by RCMP.