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Rescuers called out in separate incidents

An elderly resident, 97-year-old Walter Barrs fell down an embankment and was rescued by members of the Sooke Fire Rescue Service. - Britt Santowski
An elderly resident, 97-year-old Walter Barrs fell down an embankment and was rescued by members of the Sooke Fire Rescue Service.
— image credit: Britt Santowski

Early Monday morning (June 2) saw the Sooke Fire Rescue Services come out to Shamrock House, an assisted living residence in Sooke, when 97-year-old Walter Barrs slipped down an embankment at the edge of the property.

Barrs is a tenant of Sandra Eglingtonn, who operates Shamrock House on Phillips Road in Sooke. Eglingtonn said she went to give him his breakfast when she discovered he was not in his residence. A walk about the property led Eglingtonn to one of Barrs’ slippers, and he was quickly located.

A call to 9-1-1 enlisted the help of Sooke’s Fire Rescue Service, where they executed a rope rescue. According to Eglingtonn, nothing was broken. Barrs is being checked over at the hospital, after which Eglingtonn expects he will come back home to Shamrock House.

In a separate incident on May 31, with separate rescuers, the Royal Canadian Air Force Search and Rescue crew brought four pleasure boaters to safety near Sooke.

According to the RCAFSS, a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter was launched from 19 Wing Comox to conduct the mission.

The rescue took place near Sooke, north of Secretary Island.

A small skiff (pleasure craft) lost engine power and was swamped after hitting a rock.  The four boaters on board were able to steer the craft to shore, but became stranded on a rocky shoreline.

The boaters used a marine radio to contact Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Victoria, located at CFB Esquimalt and call for help.

The Cormorant arrived on scene at approximately 7 p.m. and hoisted two Search and Rescue Technicians 100 feet to the rocky shoreline.

After the technicians assessed no medical aid was required, the four people were hoisted into the helicopter. They were subsequently flown to a sports field at a local high school.

The helicopter landed at the sports field and they were met by RCMP and a family member.

The four boaters were well equipped with a radio and had started to build a survival fire at the time of their rescue.

A lifeboat from Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue #37 was also called to respond.

“We located the boaters on the shore of a rocky inlet, after receiving the call from JRCC. We hoisted the two Search and Rescue Technicians onto a spit of land and they made their way on foot to where the boaters had taken shelter on the beach.  Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue 37 was also on scene in support, but were unable to proceed too close to the shore due to rocks,” said Captain Will Livingston, Cormorant helicopter pilot, 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron.

442 Transport and Rescue Squadron Cormorant and Buffalo aircraft are JRCC Victoria’s primary means for aviation SAR responses in the Victoria Search and Rescue Region (SRR). The Victoria SRR includes 920,000 square kilometres of mainly mountainous terrain in British Columbia and the Yukon, extending approximately 600 nautical miles (965 kms.) offshore into the Pacific Ocean.

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