2 fishermen drown near Bathurst, N.B., when boat capsizes

Two commercial lobster fishermen drowned early Thursday in the Bay of Chaleur off Miller Brook Wharf near Bathurst, N.B., when their boat capsized.

Bay of Chaleur capsizing incident possibly related to equipment entanglement on lobster boat

People gather on the Miller Brook Wharf near Bathurst after two lobster fishermen died Thursday when their boat capsized off the wharf in the Bay of Chaleur. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

Two commercial lobster fishermen drowned early on Thursday in the Bay of Chaleur off Miller Brook Wharf, near Bathurst, N.B., when their boat capsized.

The bodies of the two drowned fishermen have been recovered. A third fisherman survived and was treated at hospital and released.

The drowning victims are Darren Cole, 45 from Bathurst and Garnet Dickson, 67, from Salmon Beach.

New Bandon-Salmon Beach Volunteer Fire Department Chief Wells Chapman was the first responder to Friday morning's report about a boat capsizing in the Bay of Chaleur. (Bridget Yard/CBC)
"It's going to be devastating," said New Bandon-Salmon Beach Volunteer Fire Department Chief Wells Chapman.

"The last fisherman that died was in 1954 in the lobster season and the gentleman was well-known and respected in the community, along with his helper.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada announced on Thursday that it was sending a team of investigators to northern New Brunswick to "gather information" about the accident.

Fishermen retrieved bodies

The man who survived was a 47-year-old man from Salmon Beach.

A 911 call about a capsized fishing boat came in at 5:15 a.m. on Thursday.

RCMP responded to a call about a capsized fishing boat in the Bay of Chaleur off Miller Brook Wharf at 5:15 a.m. Thursday. (Google Map)
Fishermen on a nearby boat retrieved the bodies of the two dead men.

"The gentleman that brought them to shore was an ex-firefighter so he contacted us by his radio and told us what was going on, so we knew what to expect," said Chapman.

"He actually thought it was a dead whale but after getting closer to it, he realized it was people in the water."

Bathurst Mayor Paolo Fongemie said the Salmon Beach area may be outside of Bathurst city limits, but it is still part of "our tight community."

"It must be sad in that community and we wish them some strength," said Fongemie.

"I know it's a very resilient community but our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and friends."

RCMP say the cause of the accident was likely gear from the boat becoming stuck on the sea floor, with the boat being overturned by a wave.

With files from Bridget Yard