Coast Guard rescues 9 rowers from capsized canoe on intertribal journey

Posted by Jim Donaldson on July 22, 2013 

A Coast Guard boat from Bellingham helped rescue nine people from the waters off Port Townsend Monday, July 22, after their canoe capsized during the 2013 Intertribal Canoe Journey-Paddle to Quinault.

The overturned canoe was reported in the water at about 7:30 a.m. Monday, five miles north of Port Townsend near Admiralty Bay. The emergency call came from one of the people in the canoe, who was using a cell phone.

The team, from the Tsartlip Tribe in British Columbia, was in the water for about two hours, witnesses said.

A 45-foot boat dispatched from the Coast Guard's station on Bellingham Bay found the rowers waving their arms in the water and brought aboard all nine people. They were taken to John Wayne Marina in Sequim, where they were handed over to local Emergency Medical Services crews. Some of the people reportedly had mild hypothermia but none were seriously injured.

A 25-foot response boat from the Port Angeles station towed the canoe to the Sequim marina.

The canoe and its crew were participating in the 2013 Intertribal Canoe Journey-Paddle to Quinalt. For more than two decades, Native American tribes in Washington state, Alaska and British Columbia embark on a canoe journey to honor their culture in the region, visiting different coastal towns.

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