As the northeastern community of Tabusintac still struggles to come to grips with the loss of three fishermen over the weekend, some people say their deaths could have been prevented.

Samuel-René Boutin, 23, of Saumarez, Alfred Rousselle, 32, of Brantville, and Ian Benoit, 35, of Tabusintac were killed when their boat capsized early Saturday morning.

The boat had hit a sandbar in rough seas and began taking on water.

Fellow fishermen at the Tabusintac wharf on Tuesday told CBC News they had warned the provincial government such a tragedy might happen.

They say the channel is too shallow and should have been dredged.


Ian Benoit had complained to the provincial government about the shallow channel earlier this spring, according to his father-in-law. (Jennifer Choi/CBC)

"Ian was at the office there in the spring and he said, 'What's going to happen? Are we going to have to wait until somebody drowns or kills themself?' And that's what just happened," said his father-in-law Aldoria Holmes.

It's been an ongoing problem, said Holmes.

Last year, Benoit and his twin brother were fishing herring and "every day they were stuck there," said Holmes. "We had to take [a] boat there and pull them in."

"We told [the government] this spring and they said, 'Well, we'll have to look.' Yeah, that's what happened — they're just looking."

Holmes, who was overcome with grief, described Benoit as "a good man." He said his grandchildren, a five-month-old girl and a two-year-old boy, are now left without a father.

Rousselle is also being remembered as a "good man," said Father Robert McGraw.

"Very devoted to his family," he said. "They have a little boy of two-and-a-half, so it is very sad."

The investigation continues.