Poseidon Princess crew credits safety equipment for saving lives
1 person suffered pneumonia after spending 2 hours in frigid North Atlantic
Three fishermen who were on a boat that rapidly starting taking on water off the coast of southwest Nova Scotia this weekend are crediting their immersion suits for keeping them alive.
Lee d'Entremont, his brother Oscar, brother-in-law Martin and a fisheries observer from Fisheries and Oceans Canada were on the Poseidon Princess when ran into trouble around midnight on Friday.
They called for help in the early morning hours Saturday, saying their boat was capsizing off the coast of West Pubnico.
"We noticed that the boat was listing to port and something was definitely wrong," Lee d'Entremont told Maritime Noon on Monday, speaking from Pubnico.
He and most of the crew were sleeping at the time when one of the crew members alerted everyone on board that the boat was sinking.
Everyone had immersion suits
The crew quickly put their immersion suits on — the North Atlantic at any time of year, especially January, is frigid.
"Everybody had their immersion suits on and we were on the starboard side and she just kept going over to port," d'Entremont said.
The crew climbed over the railing as the boat continued to sink. The life-raft, which was located on the vessel's port side, automatically detached from the ship when it hit the water.
Lee d'Entremont said at the same time, a wave swept over the boat and swept his brother-in-law Martin into the water.
"He swam towards the life-raft and caught the painter — the rope that you pull to inflate the life-raft — and the life-raft inflated," he said.
The rest of the crew jumped into the freezing waters and made a dash for the life-raft.
"We got in the life-raft — Martin, me and Oscar — and when we looked behind we couldn't see Dave anywhere," he said.
David is the observer from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
"David is somewhere in the sea, I guess. He's floating by himself. All I can see is three lights and we start to yell for David and he's answering," said d'Entremont.
"I try to just paddle the life-raft with my hands, to try to get to him, and that's not working so I jump back overboard, out of the life-raft and tried to swim and pull it at the same time — but that didn't work so I just climbed back in."
Immersion suit 'saved my life'
D'Entremont said the crew knew there were boats coming. Before abandoning ship, the crew sent out a mayday. Once they saw boats on the horizon, they started to shoot off flares.
Before too long, the Atlantic Destiny was at the scene. Once rescuers arrived on scene, d'Entremont said it took between 15 to 20 minutes for the vessel to find David.
"Everybody's a little shaken up, I guess, it was a little emotional. But as far as physical, well, just a few bumps and bruises. Dave had a little go of it," said d'Entremont.
"He was by himself floating in his suit there for two hours, maybe. He had swallowed quite a bit of water and he was in hospital for a bit there. He's got pneumonia. But he's doing alright. He's in good spirits."
D'Entremont said it was his first time in a vessel that capsized — and no one panicked.
"It was my first time, hopefully the last," he said.
"I remember that I never felt that I wasn't coming home. I always thought everything was good because of the situation and we had our immersion suits on and we knew boats were coming, and visibility was fairly good."
D'Entrement credits the onboard safety equipment with the happy ending.
"All of our safety equipment worked, the life-raft — everything worked like it was supposed to," he said.
"All the gear was up to snuff, everything was working good and I can't say enough about the immersion suits.… For the one I had, it was the ultimate thing to have on in that situation. Saved my life, other than that I only had shorts on."