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Stranded kite surfer rescued 4 km off White Rock shores

Police credit quick-thinking command-centre operator with helping avert disaster
A kite surfer catches air in White Rock on Father’s Day (June 20, 2021). That same evening, a Shiprider crew rescued a kite surfer who ran into trouble about four kilometres out into the bay. (Aaron Hinks photo)

A quick thinking RCMP tactical command centre operator is being credited with helping avert a potentially disastrous outcome for a kite surfer in distress in Semiahmoo Bay Sunday evening (June 20).

According to a news release, White Rock RCMP received a request just after 5 p.m. to check on a kite surfer who appeared to be in trouble on the water beyond the city’s pier.

“The kite surfer was approximately 4 km out into the bay and appeared to be having difficulties as the wind had died down,” the release states.

The call was noticed by a BC RCMP Federal Border Integrity Operation Centre (BIOC) operator, who “immediately engaged the BC RCMP Federal Shiprider crew that was on the water in the area.”

The Shiprider program is a legislated border-security partnership between Canada and the United States, in which crew members are jointly trained and authorized to enforce the law on both sides of the border “without the limitations of traditional police jurisdictions,” RCMP Assistant Cmsr. Todd Shean said during a 2012 news conference announcing it as a permanent tool for tackling cross-border crime on the water.

READ MORE: Feds launch cross-border maritime decision in White Rock

Sunday, within 30 minutes of receiving the emergency call, the Shiprider crew located the kite surfer just south of the Canada/U.S. border and got him to shore.

Staff Sgt. Sean Powell, in charge of Shiprider, said the kite surfer was rescued before he required any medical attention.

“The BIOC operator was a crucial component as her awareness of the White Rock call and current maritime operations expedited the surfer’s safe return,” the release adds.
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Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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