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BC Ferries workers fall into water during rescue drill, leads to cancellations on major route

BC Ferries training accident cancels long weekend sailings
WATCH: BC Ferries training accident cancels long weekend sailings

Two BC Ferries workers who were injured during a rescue drill Friday morning are expected to make a full recovery.

However, the incident resulted in major delays on the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay route due to issues with the rescue boat on board the vessel.

The workers were performing a drill with the rescue boat when they fell into the water, according to BC Ferries president and CEO Mark Collins.

“Our crews were conducting regulatory drills on the Spirit of Vancouver Island and there was a rescue boat incident that resulted in two of our crew falling in the water,” he said.

BC Ferries said it’s too early to determine if the boat was broken or if there’s a problem with the brake release cable but they are investigating.

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The BC Ferries Marine Workers Union said it was the result of a crane malfunction, on a component known as a davit used to lower rescue boats from the upper decks into the water.

Without that safety feature, the ferries can’t sail.

WATCH: BC Ferries cancellations after crew members injured during drill

BC Ferries cancellations after crew members injured during drill
BC Ferries cancellations after crew members injured during drill

It was the second time this year that there was a substantial failure with rescue boats.

Back in April, there was a similar incident where, again, two men fell into the water when a davit failed during a drill on the Queen of Cumberland.

On Friday, the ferry workers union issued a statement saying the malfunction causes “deep concern.” It anticipates it will be thoroughly investigated.

“We don’t know that the two are connected, but we are always concerned about these sorts of things – particularly when our employees are at risk,” said Collins.

READ MORE: BC Ferries resumes service after sailings cancelled by mechanical woes

The mishap left BC Ferries down a vessel on one of its busiest weekends of the year.

The service did have three other vessels running the route, but no back up boats available to step in — resulting in a five-sailing wait at the peak of the travel day.

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The 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. sailings from Tsawwassen and the 11 a.m. from Swartz Bay were been cancelled.

The 7 a.m. from Swartz Bay was also cancelled.

Ferries were back up and running by about 3 p.m.

BC Ferries says it will refund customers who reserved a spot on these sailings.

The vessel will be back in service for the 3 p.m. departure from Swartz Bay.