Dramatic Rescue In Pacific Ocean For Three Canadians

Photograph of several sailboats on the ocean (the James' sailboat is not shown here). Image: Arsenikk

Nine-year-old West James was sailing to Hawaii with his father, Brad, and his uncle, Mitchell last week.

The boy had permission from his mother and teacher to take the trip if he documented (wrote about) the voyage.

The three were in the Pacific Ocean on their way to Mexico when they ran into a series of squalls, sudden storms with high winds and waves.

The storms flooded the sailboat’s engine and damaged their boat’s mast. They tried to rig a new sail, but it blew away.

When Mitchell James tried to fix the mast, he fell into the cold, choppy water. The others got him back in the boat but they feared he had a concussion (head injury).

Brad James, 29, called his wife on a satellite phone, who gave them the number for the Coast Guard. They gave the Coast Guard their position in the ocean using a GPS, or Global Positioning System.

The nearest ship to the three stranded boaters was a massive American freighter called the Horizon Reliance. The Coast Guard asked the Reliance to veer away its own course and pick up the men and the boy.

It took the ship six hours to get to the Canadians.

When the Canadians saw the huge freighter coming towards them, they thought they were saved.

But when the 275-metre-long freighter got close to the sailboat, its waves forced the sailboat to crash into it; the sailboat started to sink. West James said that at that point he didn’t think they would survive.

The three were forced to jump into the water. The Reliance got to Mitchell James first and the crew rescued him, but it took another hour and a half before the ship could make another pass to pick up Brad and West James. During their long wait in the water, the father tried to comfort his son and keep his spirits up.

The three were eventually taken by the Reliance to Honolulu, Hawaii, where they were given a hot meal and put up in a hotel by the owners of the freighter until they were taken home. None of the three had any serious injuries.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
West’s teacher asked him to keep a journal while he was on his trip.

Pick one moment from this story and use your imagination to write a journal entry from West’s point of view. Remember to include details, such as dialogue, feelings and thoughts.

Reading Prompt: Responding to and Evaluating Texts
What role did technology play in this story? How would the situation have been different if Mitchell, Brad and West James didn’t have access to any technology?

Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Grammar Feature: Italics
When the name of a boat is written, it is written in italics. When else would you write words in italics?