SeaBus crew jump into action after seaplane collides with boat in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour

SeaBus crew jump into action after seaplane collides with boat in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour

Burrard Otter II monitoring a crashed float plane in the Burrard Inlet on June 8, 2024
PHOTO CREDIT: Nicky Furmage (X)

It was around 12:52 p.m. on a sunny Saturday when SeaBus Captain April Larson noticed an unusual sight.


“It looked like a seaplane was floundering in the water. We didn’t hear anything yet on the radio. But it looked like it was in a bad position, so I decided we should go over and see if we could help,” she said.


She directed the four person crew aboard the Burrard Otter II to prepare for a possible person overboard pick up.


“Then I made an announcement to the passengers to let them know what we were doing, and heading over to see if we could provide any assistance.”

As she turned around the vessel, SeaBus Attendants Erin Young and Gregory Nicholl didn’t miss a beat and kicked into gear.


“It just happened that, that day was our person overboard drill,” said Gregory.


SeaBus crews do a drill every weekend, and just hours before the incident, had practiced for this very scenario.


“I got my harness on. Gregory moved passengers away,” recalls Erin, adding that the SeaBus passengers were very cooperative, “everyone was really wonderful and gave lots of space.”

The SeaBus is equipped with life rafts and crews are able to drop down a ladder, and pick up any persons in the water.


“It feels kind of surreal at first. Then you just remember all the training you do, and everything you practice for and put the drills into action. Luckily, we had a great crew on board that day and we all got into action.”


Other vessels had also noticed the plane and made their way there to help rescue any passengers, including first responders.


“It’s really impressive to see the response I saw from everyone. From Vancouver Fire Rescue, Vancouver Police Department, RCMP, and people’s private vessels,” said Captain Larson.


She says it’s “the law of the sea” that if you see someone in need, or in trouble, you must help them.


“It’s a busy harbour, everyone gets the same call from the harbour master, and everyone does what they can to get out there, so there is no loss of life,” said Gregory.


“It’s pretty incredible. It’s a serious incident and a huge thanks and respect to the vessels that got there first and got them out of the water,” said Gregory.