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Second BC Ferry officer testified he rushed to the bridge

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The second officer of a BC ferry that ran aground and sank seven years ago has testified he rushed to take charge of the bridge seconds after the ship crashed into an island.

Kevin Hilton says he was on a break when he heard a loud noise and felt the Queen of the North rock from the collision, and when he got to the bridge he saw a lot of red on the ship’s radar screen — red indicating land — and he knew immediately the ship had run aground.

He was testifying in the trial of Karl Lilgert, who’s accused of criminal negligence causing the deaths of two passengers in the sinking in 2006.

Hilton says when he arrived on the bridge he didn’t see anyone standing at either of the two navigation wheels, nor any charts out on a table for navigation purposes, and within about a minute he was radioing the ship’s position to marine traffic controllers.

Hilton says he later asked Lilgert what had happened, and Lilgert basically said he didn’t know.

A Transportation Safety Board report said the ship failed to make a critical course change just before the collision.