Coast Guard hovercraft damaged in collision with sailboat off British Columbia

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Victoria-

A Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft suffered damage after colliding with a sailboat near Salt Spring Island Monday night.

The CCGS Siyay hovercraft was carrying forward paramedics to Ganges Harbor to evacuate a patient to Vancouver around 5:45 p.m.

Coastguard officials said the craft was cruising at eight knots – around 15 km/h – into the harbor when an unlit sailing vessel which was anchored outside the common anchorage area suddenly appeared in front of the vessel.

“The captain of the Siyay was able to carry out an emergency maneuver and avoid direct contact with the sailboat,” coastguard spokesman Kiri Westnedge said in a statement on Tuesday.

“However, there was contact on the starboard side of the hovercraft and the bowsprit of the sailboat (a spar that extends from the bow of a sailboat),” she added.

Westnedge says the sailboat was not detected on the hovercraft’s radar.

No one was on board the sailboat when the ships collided. Paramedics and the hovercraft’s seven-person crew were not injured in the crash, according to the Coast Guard.

Rescuers were able to complete the medical evacuation to Vancouver.

“We are assessing damage to the hovercraft,” Westnedge said. “The lifeboat station remains ready to respond to search and rescue incidents. We are also trying to locate the owner of the sailboat.”

The Coast Guard says it routinely provides medical evacuation services, including by hovercraft, “in situations where access to a location is over difficult terrain, or it is quicker or easier to respond by air. of water”.

The Siyay, measuring 28.5 meters long and 12 meters wide, is one of four hovercraft operated by the Canadian Coast Guard. It is capable of moving up to 50 knots – or 93 km/h – on water, and can also move on ice and on land.

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