HMCS Yellowknife rescues stranded hiker 

HMCS Yellowknife Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) (call name ‘Raven’) heads towards Tongue Point.

Peter Mallett, 
Staff Writer

The crew of HMCS Yellowknife rescued an injured hiker stranded on a remote island off Western Vancouver Island on Aug. 15.

The Kingston-class vessel was conducting Search and Rescue (SAR) Zone patrol with the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) when a call came for help about a male hiker in his 20s at 6 p.m. at Tongue Point, Nootka Island, in a radio transmission from a Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) of Victoria.

Sub-Lieutenant (SLt) Martin Hagen, Naval Warfare Officer in HMCS Yellowknife, said the hiker was not local and unfamiliar with the tides and dangers of the area.

“The hiker ultimately decided to hail the Canadian Coast Guard rather than risk warding off wolves and other wild animals while waiting for the next sea taxi to arrive in three days,” SLt Hagen said.

According to him, the hiker was unable to reach the last ferry sailings off the island. Given the hiker’s original plans, he was not equipped for staying in the cool and wet weather conditions, and lacked the necessary equipment to make a safe shelter for the night.

Yellowknife dispatched a Zodiac inflatable rescue boat with Petty Officer Second Class Andrew Astles, Sailor First Class Kyle Morgan, and Stephanie Rose, CCG Rescue Specialist. The hiker was contacted via handheld VHF radio, located above the drying shoreline, and quickly extracted.

The hiker was suffering from a hand injury and mild hypothermia. He was treated and then transported to a CCG Rescue Boat, which took him to Gold River for the trip home.

Lieutenant (Navy) Ben Scott, Yellowknife’s Executive Officer, said the hiker faced a predicament that many newcomers who hike Vancouver Island’s rugged West Coast Trail face.

“Many people who hike the West Coast Trail are overcome by events and do not prepare adequately,” Lt(N) Scott said. “HMC ships regularly patrol SAR zones and are more likely to respond to these sorts of rescue calls.”

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