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Ucluelet police rescue vessels from incoming logs

Police captured a log-boom-on-the-lam that was threatening local vessels.

Ucluelet’s new police boat nailed its first crack at saving the day on June 7 around 1:30 p.m. when a log-boom, roughly 30 logs deep, escaped the spot it was tied to and began riding a strong tide straight for Ucluelet’s Pat Lesley Memorial Boat Launch. 

A resident saw the impending peril and called Sgt. Jeff Swann who raced to the scene in Ucluelet’s new RCMP vessel.

Swann said he arrived in the nick of time to halt the boom, which the tide was carrying at a significant pace.

“I managed to tie my boat off onto the log boom and then hooked up a tow rope and began driving at pretty good power to prevent it from hitting the boats,” Swann said.

 â€œIt was about 10 metres away from hitting boats when I got there and got hooked up.”

With the boom safely attached to his vessel, Swann called for support to drive it away. 

“Coast Guard from Bamfield and our local RCMSAR (Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue) came out and we managed to push and pull the log-boom back to where it was subsequently tied up by us,” he said.

He said police are talking with the boom’s owners to figure out what happened and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Swann noted the mission would not have been possible with the RCMP’s old vessel.

“Our new police boat is beautiful because it’s got a nice tow-rope attached to it which is something that our old boat didn’t have,” he said.


Father and son survive terrifying crash

Two men survived a significant single vehicle collision on Hwy. 4 last week.

A father and son tourist team had wrapped up their West Coast vacation and headed out of Tofino around 2:30 a.m. on June 11.

They were traveling along the highway around 4 a.m. when an animal jumped in front of their vehicle causing the driver to swerve and crash into a ditch near Maureen Creek, according to Sgt. Swann.

Swann said a passer-by saw the men and drove them to Ucluelet where they were picked up by BC Ambulance personnel and transported to the Tofino Hospital.

Swann said both men were injured in the crash but, considering the damage to the vehicle, their injuries were surprisingly minor.

“They’re very lucky,” Swann said.


Stranded swimmer rescued

A swimmer was rescued from a perilous situation near Ucluelet last week.

A 23 year-old tourist, visiting from the mainland, was swimming around Wally Creek on June 8 around 4 p.m. when he was caught by the currents and carried into rapids.

“The male was swimming in an upper pool and got too close to the outfall and got flushed out down about a 10 to 15 foot drop,” said Sgt. Swann. 

“He nearly struck his head on some rocks and then went into some faster moving water where he was lucky enough to grab onto a log before he was washed down into some potentially fatal rapids that would have been next to impossible to rescue anybody from.”

Swann said the man was clinging to the log when he was spotted by a WestCoast Wild Zipline employee who sprang into action.

“A very competent and trained employee from the zipline, who is very familiar with ropes and relaying and trained rope rescue skills, was able to attend immediately and set up a rope system,” Swann said. “They got a life jacket down to him and they secured him to the log.”

Swann said the West Coast Inland Search and Rescue team arrived in short order to rescue the man and get him to safety. 

 â€œThey raced to the scene and managed to pluck this guy off this precarious position on the edge of the cliff. It was basically a 15-foot straight drop down and, if anybody had fallen in, it could have been fatal,” Swann said of the rescue team.

“This is their third call in just a few short weeks...they left their families and everything at home and raced to the scene.”

He said the man survived the incident without significant injury.

“His only injury was just a small cut to his chin; he’s lucky to be alive,” Swann said.


 Drunk drivers nabbed

Ucluelet police removed two drunk drivers from the road last week.

Const. Chris Squire was on patrol in Ucluelet around 9:25 p.m. on June 6 when he spotted a vehicle driving erratically and swerving over road lines.

He pulled the vehicle over and found the driver to be impaired.

The driver was issued an immediate 90-day driving prohibition and their vehicle was impounded for 30 days.

The driver was a tourist and must now figure out how to get their vehicle back home when it is released from the Ucluelet impound lot in 30 days.

Police caught another drunk driver on June 10 during a roadblock set up on Port Albion Road by Const Marcel Midlane around 11 p.m.

“Within 20 minutes of doing the road block he got an impaired driver off the road,” Swann said. “Those are the type of drivers we need to get off the road; they’re not safe.”

Swann said police will continue sniffing out drunk drivers through roadblocks and routine patrols.

 â€œThat’s two impaired drivers taken off the road,” he said of last week’s efforts.

“Part of what the public wants us to do is enforcing the laws and regulations making sure the roads are safer... We’re out there all the time. Thankfully the impaired numbers are down but you just never know.”


Illegal fireworks ignite complaints

Police recently responded to an illegal fireworks display.

The fireworks were set off near Ucluelet Elementary School on the evening of June 9.

Swann said the suspects had vanished by the time police arrived. 

Ucluelet’s Fireworks Regulation Bylaw stipulates that fireworks may only be set off between Oct. 24-Oct. 31 unless a special permit is obtained.

 Ucluelet police are reminding locals and visitors to practice caution when setting off fireworks and only to do so during the permitted fireworks window.

Swann said West Coasters expect to hear fireworks around Halloween but impromptu fireworks shows can rattle pets and startle young locals.

“They expect it at certain events that are sanctioned where they’re properly and safely set off,” he said.

 â€œYou only need to look on YouTube for firework mistakes and you’ll see people losing hands left and right...It’s a dangerous explosive; it should be set off properly with the proper equipment.”


Lost bikes found, owners sought

Two lost bikes are sitting at the Ucluelet RCMP detachment waiting to be reunited with their respective owners.

Sgt. Swann said both bikes were turned in by Ucluelet’s new bylaw team on June 8. 

Anyone who has recently lost their bike is encouraged to attend the detachment—1712 Cedar Rd.—where they can give a description of the bike they’ve lost to see if it is one of the two that were recovered.

Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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