On this day in 1970, a B.C. ferry and a Soviet Union freighter collided in Active Pass, located between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay, killing three people.
The “Queen of Victoria” ferry was on its way to Victoria on Aug. 2, 1970 carrying 626 passengers when it entered the narrow body of water between Galiano and Mayne Islands.
Beyond being only 400 metres wide at its most narrow point, the channel features a blind corner, making it incredibly dangerous for passing vessels.
Upon approaching Active Pass, the captain made a radio call announcing their entry into the channel and asked if there was any other traffic nearby. No one answered.
About a minute after entering Active Pass at full speed (15.5 knots), the “Queen of Victoria” came face-to-face with the Soviet freighter “Sergey Yesenin.” The ship immediately reduced its speed, but it was too late.
The “Sergey Yesenin” hit the “Queen of Victoria” at about a 45-degree angle, thrusting so hard that its bow pierced half-way through the ferry.
The boats remained locked together for two hours before being sent back to Tsawwassen.
A local fisherman captured the moment of impact and aftermath on camera.