Sept. 20, 2004
ST. JOHN'S - Poor weather has delayed
the search for a fisherman missing and presumed drowned near Bonavista.
Another man's body has been recovered and four survivors released from
hospital after a dramatic effort in the air and on the side of a cliff
near Cape Bonavista.
|Debris from Ryan's Commander
The 65 ft. shrimp dragger Ryan's Commander sent a brief distress call
6:30 p.m. Sunday evening, saying it was taking on water and the six
fishermen onboard were abandoning ship.
The Ryan's Commander was bound to St. Brendan's from Bay de Verde when
it rolled into heavy seas as it rounded Cape Bonavista.
Clarence Peddle, co-ordinator with the Marine Search and Rescue Centre,
says a half-dozen ships, as well as a military helicopter and Hercules
aircraft joined the rescue effort.
Two hours later, a Cormorant helicopter was hovering over the life-raft
carrying the six crew.
"It was a very difficult evacuation because we had four-metre
seas as well as driving rain and poor visibility, close to 50 knot winds.
We did manage to evacuate one person, the one that was most seriously
affected by the incident, " he says.
A problem with the helicopter's hoist prevented rescue technicians
from pulling anyone else to safety.
The helicopter crew instead flew the first man to hospital to be treated
Peddle says by that time the life-raft had drifted to the base of a
cliff several kilometres south of Cape Bonavista.
"The life-raft impacted on the shore and all five people were,
I believe, more thrown out of the life raft as opposed to doing any
kind of an orderly evacuation," says Peddle.
"They came ashore in very, very rough terrain — very rocky
cliffs 60, 70 feet high and four-metre seas. That was compounded by
the fact that it was beating up against the shore so all five peope
were expelled from the life-raft," he says.
The crewmembers came ashore in two locations, two people in one place
and two in another. The fifth is still missing and presumed drowned.
Peddle says the RCMP, local volunteers, the local fire department,
search and rescue technicians and ground search and rescue had gathered
at the scene. The search and rescue technicians rappelled down the side
of the cliff, rescuing the first two people they located.
At the second location, searchers found two people, one who was clinging
to the the rocks, and a second who had succumbed to his injuries.
Bad weather has delayed the search for the missing man. He wasn't
wearing a survival suit at the time of the accident.
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