Alaska ferry Kennicott rescues boat passengers in Canada’s Inside Passage

The 382-foot-long MV Kennicott pulls out of Whittier in 2011. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastaAlaska)

An Alaska Marine Highway System ferry rescued five people after a small boat capsized Friday morning near Bella Bella, British Columbia, in the Inside Passage. A sixth passenger, the boat’s captain, was still missing.

The Bellingham-bound ferry Kennicott responded to a distress call that a 26-foot boat was sinking near Humchitt Island, about 200 miles south of Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

The ferry dispatched its fast rescue boat, ferry officials said.

“The crew and master of the Kennicott did a very professional job in quickly assisting with the rescue,” Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities spokesperson Meadow Bailey wrote in a statement. “All vessels and crews in our fleet drill for these types of situations as part of the AMHS’s  strong safety program and safety culture.”

The partially-submerged vessel’s captain was still missing as of Monday, Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

“There were six people on board, and all but the captain made it safely to shore on Humchitt Island,” RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson wrote in a statement Monday.

The rescue delayed the ferry by about four hours, Bailey said. She added the Kennicott cut its time in port short to get back on schedule.

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