One fisher found dead as search teams comb southwest N.S. shores for remaining five
Seas were two to three metres high and winds were gusting well over 50 km/h at the time the vessel sank.
One of the six missing scallop fishers was found dead late on the evening of Dec. 15 as teams search the shores near a Nova Scotia village for the remaining five and community members struggle to remain hopeful.
Near the scene along the Bay of Fundy, Rev. Bob Elliott, the pastor of the Hillsburn United Baptist Church, said fears of the worst were mounting for the missing scallop dragger Chief William Saulis.
“If you’re a praying person, you should be praying now,” the minister said in an interview on Dec. 15.
Earlier in the day, two empty life-rafts from the dragger washed ashore near his church in the village of about 250 people.
“We’re remaining hopeful until we’re told not to be hopeful. It’s nearing Christmas, and there’s people, and loved ones, and there are children involved. So we must remain positive for now,” Elliott said.
According to the Halifax search and rescue co-ordination centre, seas were two to three metres high and winds were gusting well over 50 km/h at the time the vessel sank. Poor weather also hampered the search by military aircraft and three coast guard vessels.
Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens of the search and rescue co-ordination centre in Halifax said the boat went down off Delaps Cove, N.S., about 40 kilometres northeast of Digby. The debris was spotted at 8:22 a.m.
Owens said a large search effort was underway, but as of 6 p.m. local time no survivors had been located. The organization sent out a tweet around 11 p.m. that one person was found dead and said the search for the others was continuing.
The RCMP is overseeing the shoreline searches, which are being conducted by local volunteers. Cpl. Mike Carter, RCMP incident commander, said about 35 searchers had been working in small teams throughout the day and well past dark.