Nova Scotia

Fisherman swept overboard wasn't wearing safety harness

A Nova Scotia fisherman who fell off a scallop dragger last spring was not wearing safety equipment, an investigation has found.

A Nova Scotia fisherman who fell off a dragger last spring was not wearing safety equipment, an investigation has found.

Ward Wickens was lost at sea after falling off the deck of the Silver Angel on May 3, 2011. The 16-metre fishing boat was in rough sea conditions about 5.5 nautical miles off Cape Sable Island.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says Wickens was trying to pick up paravane stabilizers. The captain — the only other person on board — tried to rescue him but failed.

Pierre Murray, TSB regional manager, said the captain couldn't get to Wickens because he couldn't steer and do everything else on his own.

In a report released today, the safety board says the fishing boat company has already made safety improvements, such as ordering all crew members to wear a PFD.

A Cormorant helicopter, two coast guard ships and two dozen fishing boats spent a day searching the waters for Wickens, a 33-year-old man from Bear Point.

A spokeswoman for the search and rescue co-ordination Centre in Halifax said Wickens was not wearing a life-jacket.

now