Multi-million-dollar yacht runs aground on Sunshine Coast

The Canadian Coast Guard prevented a 30-metre yacht from sinking in Pender Harbour Wednesday afternoon, but it was quick thinking local sailors who helped the passengers and crew to shore when they heard the mayday call.

"There's a lot of people with a lot of marine experience in this harbour who have lived here for years and years. So, there was like a flotilla of boats out there," said Allyson Nelson as she watched from John Henry's Resort and Marina on the other side of the harbour.

The captain of the yacht made the mayday call at 2:29 p.m. as he pulled the vessel into Pender Harbour because it was taking on water.

The local coast guard search and rescue boat arrived shortly after and was followed by the larger 'CCGS Cape Caution' which is based north of Pender Harbour in Powell River.

Water poured from the rear of the yacht as crews used two large pumps to bail the vessel out.

By early evening, the situation was less dire.

"The vessel is currently floating at its regular height, and anchored in Pender Harbour...Canadian Coast Guard will remain on scene until the vessel is boomed off....No pollution observed at this time," read a statement from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The yacht, called 'Bellissima' is based out of San Francisco and witnesses said the passengers were also from California.

"It hit something outside of the harbour and they must have figured out that something was wrong and started coming into the harbour in order to get more safe," said Nelson.

According to witnesses, shortly after being rescued most of the passengers left Pender Harbour on a chartered float plane but the captain stayed behind to help coordinate what will happen next with the damaged yacht.

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