PICTOU COUNTY – A YMCA Big Cove camp canoe trip ended with six teenagers being rescued by helicopter and boat from the Northumberland Strait Tuesday afternoon.
Two staff and seven teenage campers were out on a canoe trip when weather conditions made it so that three of the four boats couldn’t get to shore, according to Benjamin Davis, chief operating officer with Big Cove Camp.
One boat with one staff member and two campers made it to shore and the staff person immediately initiated emergency procedures, calling the Coast Guard and the Big Cove Camp.
“They were adrift in high winds approximately one kilometre offshore,” Major Martell Thompson of the Joint Task Force Atlantic’s Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax said.
He said they received the call for rescue shortly after 12 p.m.
In response, a Cormorant Helicopter and Hercules Helicopter from 413 Squadron and the Pictou inshore rescue boat were tasked to rescue the six boaters.
Those rescued included an 18-year-old and five others ranging from age 14 to 16.
“Two of them were picked up by the Cormorant Helicopter. The remaining four were picked up by an inshore rescue boat,” Thompson said. “All six had PFDs, maps, compasses and bailers, so they were well equipped.”
Thompson said the rescue didn’t take long after the call was received and all six teenagers are “safe and sound now,” with no injuries reported.
“The safety and wellbeing of the children, youth, teens, and staff is of the utmost importance to the YMCA and we are taking this situation very seriously,” Davis said.
He said this is the first time in the time he’s been there that something like this has happened. He said they’ll be making sure they find out exactly what happened. He said they do have training about what weather is appropriate to go out in, but sometimes weather can change quickly along the Northumberland shore.
“We’re certainly very thankful for the support of the rescuers,” he said.