On July 26th, a small float plane carrying 9 individuals crashed at Addenbroke Island, approximately 83 kilometers north of Vancouver Island. Unfortunately, 4 people were killed and the 5 survivors were taken to hospital for further treatment. Our thoughts are with the friends and families of both the survivors and those who died.
For those who may not know, Addenbroke Island is an inhabited island. It is fully staffed with 2 full-time lightkeepers whose main functions are to provide a minimum of 7 weather updated per day and monitor radios and the water for any trouble. They are a vital communication link for mariners.
Our lightkeeper members stepped up and went into action. Principal lightkeeper Jason Smereka and Assistant lightkeeper Sharon Best worked tirelessly in helping with the rescue and recovery of victims and survivors. Furthermore, they opened their homes at the remote lightstation to on-scene staff to use thoughout this ordeal.
The action of these lightkeepers is a reminder as to why UCTE fought against the plan to de-staff the lightstations in 2010. A Canadian Coast Guard representative said it best: “Lightkeepers are the silent heroes of our coast that are always there year round in all weather conditions keeping watch over our rugged coast line.”
Thank you Brother Jason Smereka and Sister Sharon Best for everything you did for those impacted by the crash.