News release

Transportation Safety Board of Canada releases investigation report into the June 2012 capsizing and death aboard a Royal Canadian Marine vessel in Sechelt Rapids, British Columbia

Gatineau, Quebec, 14 August 2013 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada today released its investigation report (M12W0070) into the capsizing of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) vessel Lewis-McPhee. Two of the 4 crew members aboard died during a training exercise.

On 3 June 2012, the fast rescue craft (FRC) Lewis-McPhee, a rigid hull inflatable boat with 4 crew members on board, capsized during exercises in Sechelt (Skookumchuck) Rapids, British Columbia. Two of the crew members were recovered by another vessel while the remaining 2 were later found deceased under the capsized vessel.

The investigation found, among other things, that an ad hoc training exercise was being conducted at a time of high current in a hazardous area of the rapids without an advance plan or formal consideration of the risks involved. The report also highlighted that crew members who are not equipped with personal protective equipment appropriate for the conditions and elements may be at an increased risk of hypothermia and drowning

Since the accident, a number of safety measures have been undertaken. On 3 July 2012, RCM-SAR prohibited training in the Skookumchuck Rapids, specifying that if RCM-SAR vessels are required to transit the rapids, the voyages should be limited to emergencies only, and the vessel should be under the conduct of certified personnel. RCM-SAR also required that all self-righting systems on its vessels be immediately re-serviced and re-certified. A new training program has also been initiated for RCM-SAR personnel.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053