Two sailors have been rescued in high winds and heavy seas off the northern B.C. coast in a dramatic operation that saw a rescuer swim to the disabled boat.
The joint rescue co-ordination centre says the two men sent a mayday call Monday night after they lost their rudder, engine and sails about 50 kilometres south of the Queen Charlotte Islands.
The rescue centre dispatched a plane and a helicopter to the sailboat, while a nearby cruise ship and Canadian Coast Guard vessels were also sent to help.
Capt. Jean Leroux says the situation was very dangerous for the sailors, who were fighting 80-kilometre winds and four-metre seas.
He says the vessel’s torn sails and loose cables also made it difficult to lower a rescuer onto the deck, forcing a search-and-rescue technician to swim to the boat.
The two sailors were then hoisted from the rolling ship into a helicopter and flown to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island.