HOLYFOX – A crew member has been declared dead after a fishing boat capsized off the coast of Cape Breton on Saturday and the search for another has been suspended.
Lieutenant-CMDR Brian Owens of the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Halifax says rescuers received a tragic call from FV Diehack at 5:45 p.m. Saturday. The crew was able to locate it when they learned the ship had sunk, but lost the signal when the boat capsized.
A helicopter and a military plane were dispatched to the scene and four people were rescued by a local ship and taken to emergency health services at Chettikamp, N.S.
Owens confirmed Sunday afternoon that one of the rescuers was dead.
The search for a fifth person continued, but was hampered by unfavorable weather.
“We encountered some obstacles through the weather. Frost spray and freezing rain moved into the area around midnight yesterday, which prevented our plane from flying, and forced some of our marine assets to return to port. Mark Gold, regional supervisor for the region’s Canadian Coast Guard, said Maritime Search and Rescue.
The Joint Rescue Coordination Center confirmed Sunday evening that the search for the missing team member has been suspended.
The boat was located in the first country of Elsiboktok in New Brunswick. Chief Ruth Levy says the community is grieving.
“It’s very sad,” Chief Levy said. “The community is so bad, we lost two community members – we consider one as a community member.”
Levy says one of the dead was a member of the First Nation of Metebenakia Mikmak in New Brunswick, but had a close relationship with Elsiboktok.
“He has a family here, a wife and children,” Levy said. “It’s a tragedy now.”
Two or three hours ago, and because the fishing boat was unrelated to the incident, the community lost an elder, which increased their heart rate.
Ruth Levy, the first head of state of Elizabeth, was interviewed by CD News on Sunday evening in a video chat. He says the loss is devastating to his community.
NB Premier Blaine Hicks shared his condolences on Twitter, saying, “We urge new French people to unite to show our support for the Elsibotok community at this difficult time.”
This is a growing story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.