No one was injured after a Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft struck part of an unattended sailboat in a Salt Spring Island harbor during a medical evacuation mission Monday.
The incident happened as the hovercraft Siyay took advanced paramedics to Ganges Harbor around 5.45pm on November 22, before ferrying a patient to Vancouver.
A Coast Guard spokesperson said the vessel entered the harbor at eight knots and circled the area where unlit sailboats traditionally anchor.
“Unfortunately, an unlit sailboat was anchored outside the common anchorage area and was not picked up by the Siyay’s radar,” coastguard spokesman Kiri Westnedge said in a statement. .
The ship‘s captain made an emergency maneuver to avoid direct contact with the sailboat, Westnedge said, but the hovercraft’s starboard side made contact with the boat’s bowsprit, protruding from its bow.
The hovercraft crew managed to complete the emergency transport to Vancouver. The sailboat was unattended at the time and Coast Guard officials are trying to locate its owner.
Meanwhile, damage to the hovercraft is being assessed and the station remains ready to respond to search and rescue missions, Westnedge said.
The 28.5 meter long Siyay is one of four air cushion vehicles operated by the Coast Guard in Canada. It can reach speeds of 50 knots on water and can also travel on land, mudflats, shallow water, ice and other surfaces. Vessels are used to access areas that are difficult to reach by land and where first responders on land cannot move quickly or easily.
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Canadian Coast GuardSalt Spring Island