One of B.C.’s two hovercraft was recently captured in action, suspending all 70-tons of itself on a cushion of air as it floated above sea and shore.
On Friday (May 21) at 6:16 p.m. the hovercraft CCGS Moytel made its way from the waters of Wreck Beach and up onto the sand to conduct a medevac. The trip was in response to a call made from BC Emergency Health Services but the Canadian Coastguard was unable to comment on specific details of the call.
“The Canadian Coast Guard works regularly with other first responders, including providing medevac services in situations where access to a location is over challenging terrain, or slower by land,” the coastguard said in a statement.
This is not the first time a hovercraft has been used to get someone off Wreck Beach. In 2020 a video captured a Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft assisting RCMP officers in transporting an allegedly drunk man off the beach.
At the time, Coast Guard communications advisor Kiri Westnedge said that Wreck Beach has no docks in order for a boat to gain access to its shores and therefore is generally only reached by a flight of hundreds of steep stairs.
Christina Martin, a University Detachment RCMP Cst. also commented on the 2020 incident.
“People have had heart attacks on that beach,” Martin said, adding that fire crews and emergency responders can get down those stairs.
“But if someone is injured and has to be laid flat on a stretcher, going back up is often dangerous for the patient," she said. Not to mention time-consuming.
The Coast Guard crew on the hovercraft is made up of a captain, first officer, and five rescue divers. They typically respond to around 300 search and rescue calls per year.