Friday, September 28, 2007

Bay of Islands rescue excerise becomes real emergency!

An elaborate search and rescue exercise off the west coast of Newfoundland was transformed into a heart-thumping reality Thursday when passengers aboard a covered lifeboat started choking on acrid fumes, apparently from a sputtering engine.

Two people, apparently suffering from serious injuries, were plucked from the motorized boat by a Cormorant rescue helicopter around noon. The 23 others aboard were taken to shore, where all but two received care from paramedics.

The exercise, dubbed Ocean Guardian III, involved about 400 people dealing with a mock disaster staged aboard the Marine Atlantic passenger ferry MV Leif Ericson in the Bay of Islands, about 90 kilometres from Corner Brook.

The main scenario involved an explosion and fire aboard the ferry, requiring rapid evacuation of numerous casualties. Witnesses said one of the lifeboats used to evacuate 160 people aboard the ferry started to spew smoke as it left the side of the larger vessel.
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