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Coast guard rescues 4 from frigid waters off northern Vancouver Island

The rescued boaters had been in the water for approximately 45 minutes and were treated for hypothermia. (Canadian Coast Guard) The rescued boaters had been in the water for approximately 45 minutes and were treated for hypothermia. (Canadian Coast Guard)
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Four people were rescued from the frigid waters off northern Vancouver Island after their boat was damaged by pounding seas and they were forced to abandon ship Wednesday evening.

A spokesperson for B.C. Emergency Health Services says the agency received a call from the coast guard saying four people were in need of medical attention at approximately 6:40 p.m.

Three ambulances were dispatched to the coast guard dock in Port Hardy, B.C., where paramedics treated all four victims and transported them to hospital.

Authorities with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria say rescuers were alerted to a vessel in distress approximately seven nautical miles – or 13 kilometres – from Port Hardy at 6:19 p.m.

A nearby fish-farm vessel, the Coastal Server, spotted emergency flares from the four-member crew after the windows of their 7.5-metre workboat were smashed by surging waves, according to the coast guard.

Canadian Coast Guard ships Florencia Bay and Sir William Grenfell were dispatched to the scene, along with a pair of fast rescue boats and a Cormorant helicopter from Canadian Forces Base Comox.

The crew of one of the fast rescue boats pulled the stranded mariners from the water and delivered them to the paramedics on the coast guard dock, according to Maritime Forces Pacific spokesperson Acting Sub-Lt. Kim Wachockier.

The rescued boaters had been in the water for approximately 45 minutes and were treated for hypothermia, according to the coast guard.

B.C. Emergency Health Services said the condition of the patients was not available Thursday.

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