The Vancouver Province contains a dramatic story involving the Canadian Air Force’s rescue of two British Columbia sailors whose storm battered sailboat was pitching wildly in 80 km/h winds and high waves near the Queen Charlotte Islands.
The Canadian Air Force deployed a helicopter to try and winch the two men off the deck of the Magnolia sailboat but the torn rigging and swaying mast posed a hazard. A photo of the sailboat, illuminated by a helicopter spotlight, is to the right.
Meanwhile, the Star Princess cruise ship was nearby heading to Alaska.
Everyone remembers the Star Princess. The notorious cruise ship recently made the headline when it sailed by three Panamanian men in the little fishing boat, 50 Cents, leaving two men to perish at sea, while three cruise passengers pleaded for the cruise ship to stop and assist the disabled fishing boat. We wrote about the dreadful incident – Two Dead Fishermen: Did Star Princess Cruise Ship Ignore Mariners in Distress?
This time the Star Princess didn’t look the other way.
As explained in the Vancouver Province, the giant ship tried to break the wind and calm the waves. But instead the cruise ship’s presence added to the danger because the wind and current would move the cruise ship in unexpected directions. "It drifted much too fast towards us," said a Canadian Air Force rescuer who was in the water at the scene.
The helicopter diver had to drop into the water twice and then swim over to the bobbing sailboat to rescue the men.
The helicopter eventually lifted the two sailors to safety, and the Star Princess headed on to Alaska.
If you were on the Star Princess and have photos, video or comments about the rescue to share, please let us hear from you.
Photo: Canadian Air Force (Sgt Robin Richardson, 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron)