6093
Views

Two Killed When Canadian Tugboat Capsizes in Bad Weather

tugboat capsizes killing two
View of the Gardner Canal (file image courtesy Sam Beebe/Ecotrust CC BY SA 3.0)

Published Feb 12, 2021 5:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

Canadian authorities responded to a tragic tugboat accident in British Columbia early on Thursday morning. Two men working on the tugboat were killed when the vessel capsized while a third was rescued and taken to a local hospital.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police responded to an emergency beacon signal received by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre. The signal was received at 12:40 a.m. on February 11 and they determined it was coming from a tugboat owned by Wainwright Marine Services in Prince Rupert, Canada. 

The tugboat was towing a barge loaded with cargo and supplies for a tunnel drilling project being conducted by Rio Tinto at a hydro-electric facility in the area, according to the local newspaper the Terrance Standard. The vessel was approximately 35 nautical miles south of the town of Kitimat operating on the Gardner Canal sailing to Kemano at the time.

The RCMP West Coast Marine vessel Inkster, which is stationed in Hartley Bay, was the first to arrive on the scene. Reports indicate that they found that the tugboat had capsized possibly in part due to bad weather and high winds in the area. The RCMP recovered the body of one of the deceased sailors.

The Canadian Coast Guard also joined in with the search of the area and later located the body of a second crew member from the vessel. 

An aircraft and helicopter dispatched to the scene by the JRCC were being hampered in their search efforts by the bad weather in the area. However, a private helicopter later spotted the third individual on the shoreline. His condition is unknown, but the RCMP reported that he was transported to a local hospital.

The RCMP in its statement said that the British Columbia Coroners Service, Work Safe BC, and the Transportation Safety Board were all following up with an investigation into the accident.