Junior All Native players among those rescued after boat runs aground

By Denise Titian, March 24, 2017
Matsquiaht — 

Six people are grateful to be alive after running aground late at night on March 23 near Matsquiaht (formerly Kakawis) on Meares Island near Tofino.

The boat, owned by an Ahousaht member, was in Tofino for a late night pick-up of four young women returning from the Junior All Native Basketball Tournament taking place in Kelowna this year.

According to Martha Taylor, whose daughter was injured in the accident, the wait for news over the VHF radio was scary.

The boat struck rocks near Ahousaht’s Lone Cone Hostel and Campground between the new dock and the beach, according to Taylor.

The first calls for help came from the stricken vessel to Ahousaht.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) was notified by the Ahousaht First Nation that an 18-foot boat had crashed on the rocks, at about 10 p.m., according to JRCC spokesman Lieut. Greg Menzies.

A Tla-o-qui-aht man from nearby Opitsaht was the first rescuer to arrive, while several other boats left Ahousaht responding to the call for help.

The six people aboard the boat included an adult couple and four adolescent girls returning from Kelowna. All had managed to evacuate the vessel by climbing up on the rocks.

“The Tofino Lifeboat transported all six persons from the boat, one needing medical care, and transported them to Tofino,” said Dan Bate, A/Regional Director, Communications Fisheries and Oceans Canada Pacific Region / Canadian Coast Guard / Government of Canada.

The boat was left high and dry to await next suitable high water.

All six rescued were evaluated at Tofino General Hospital, treated and released.