Sailings cancelled after BC Ferries worker injured aboard vessel at Horseshoe Bay

The Queen of Cowichan seen in an undated file photo. BC Ferries

A BC Ferries worker has been taken to hospital after getting injured aboard a docked vessel Saturday, forcing some morning sailings to be cancelled.

BC Ferries said the worker was injured on the Queen of Cowichan, which was set to sail out of Horseshoe Bay for Departure Bay in Nanaimo at 8:25 a.m.

That sailing was held and then cancelled due to the incident, which BC Ferries initially called a “crewing issue” and then a medical emergency.

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The 10:40 a.m. return sailing out of Departure Bay was also cancelled.

BC Ferries later confirmed the female worker was injured by one of the bow doors, which was having trouble opening.

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A witness who asked not to be named said she and several other walk-ons watched the accident unfold as they were standing on the car deck waiting to disembark.

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“There was a huge kerfuffle with about 10, 15 ferry workers trying to get these doors open,” she said.

“They ended up using a vehicle that usually tows the luggage carts … with a chain to pull one of the doors open and ram the other door.”

The witness said the victim was concerned about everyone’s safety and tried to get everyone out of the way seconds before the accident.

“One of the doors actually slammed into her, knocked her off her feet and then sort of dragged her along the bottom of the deck,” she said. “It was absolutely horrific.”

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Graeme Johnston, provincial president of the BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union, said in a statement the worker suffered “significant injuries.”

“Our thoughts are with them, their family, and the crews involved, both ship and shore,” he said.

BC Ferries said the issue with the bow doors has been resolved, allowing further sailings to continue. A full investigation is also underway.

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WorkSafeBC confirmed it is also investigating the incident and has dispatched safety officers to the terminal, but would not share any further information.

Sailings between Horseshoe Bay for Departure Bay resumed at 1 p.m. and are set to continue as normal for the rest of the day, BC Ferries said.

Passengers with reservations were accommodated on later sailings, a spokesperson added.

—With files from Srushti Gangdev

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