BRITISH COLUMBIA

Two storey waves, howling winds, can't deter rescuers off Vancouver Island

12/14/2012 01:07 EST | Updated 02/13/2013 05:12 EST
VANCOUVER - Waves as high as a two storey building and powerful, 50 kilometre per hour winds couldn't interfere with a high seas rescue off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Members of an RCAF search and rescue helicopter faced those daunting conditions Thursday evening as they raced to rescue an injured crewmember from a freighter, 100 kilometres west of Tofino.

The Cormorant helicopter from 19 Wing Comox was called after the unidentified victim was seriously hurt while carrying out maintenance on The Rook, a 190 metre bulk-cargo carrier heading from Hong Kong to Washington State.

Despite poor visibility and dangers posed by cranes and guidewires aboard the rolling ship, rescue technicians were safely lowered to the deck to treat the injured sailor.

Sgt. Shawn Harrison says the man was stabilized, placed in a rescue basket and hoisted into the helicopter.

The man was then flown to Victoria, where he is now being treated in hospital.