I don't know how much this will add, but I was nearby when this happened so I can say what I saw and heard.
We were just coming back from a week of sailing when we were coming east through Harney Channel near Hankin Point when we heard the mayday over the radio
. Looked in front of us and saw the aftermath about 1-1.5nm away from us. It appeared to have happen right at the meeting of Harney and Upright channels, maybe closer to Upright head
but not all that close to land or any other obstruction. I did not think of looking at the GPS
when it happened to note exactly where as we drove by afterwards.
I would say that fog
was not an issue with several miles of visibility in that area and possibly much more as I could see land in every direction and we weren't concerned about fog at all or we wouldn't have been out as our boat did not have radar
. It was gray and cold out but not very windy nor were there are strong currents that I was aware of.
I heard over the radio
that the first other sailboat to respond which was right ahead of us knew the affected sailboat owner and called it a 27' motorsailer
and knew that there was only one person on board. I believe he was the first to call out that the affected captain
was outside standing on the boat. Several other nearby boats quickly responded but a surprising number just motored on by at high speed. Soon afterwards another ferry coming east through Upright Channel came to a full stop before reaching the junction.
Before we heard the mayday we were aware of the ferries in our area but I do not recall
hearing any horns whatsoever. I wasn't totally focused on them yet as we were well out of their way closer to shore so I can't say for sure that they didn't sound one, but if they did we never heard it.
All on board our vessel could not imagine how this possibly could have happened. I still can't as it seems so unlikely that anyone could have been surprised given the location, conditions, etc... That said, there was a lot of traffic coming from a lot of different directions at this location.
One other note, it took forever for anyone official to get on the scene despite hearing that the CG was only 3 miles away. This first to show up was actually a small WA state wildlife/fisheries boat who attempted to tow the quickly sinking sailboat back to Shoal Bay. They had no pumping ability on board. As they towed it, they very nearly got sucked back into the stopped ferry with it having to move very quickly sideways to avoid another crash. We thought for sure there was going to be another collision
- it seemed that close. Soon afterwards a sheriff follow by some sort of vessel assist show up but it had all come to a stop by then and sank very soon afterwards.
I can also say that from my (limited) sailing around the PNW, that those ferry routes on the charts
only seem to be suggestions to the ferry pilots and it is sometime very difficult to know exactly where they are headed. I personally never expect them to stick to those dotted lines on the chart. Also, it has been my experience that they do not always sound their horns when they leave the docks. It seems to mostly happen but not 100%. And they are very fast.