New Brunswick fishing village mourns men who died at sea
Published Sunday, May 19, 2013 8:25AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, May 19, 2013 6:51PM EDT
A New Brunswick community is “broken” after the bodies of three missing fishermen were recovered this weekend, the latest tragedy to hit the region’s fishing industry, a local minister said.
The fishermen were reported missing after their boat capsized when it hit a sandbar off the coast of Tabusintac at approximately 5:30 on Saturday morning. Tabunsintac is on the north side of Miramichi Bay.
Later Saturday, the body of one of the men, a 23-year-old, was found near the area where the boat overturned.
The bodies of the remaining two men -- a 32-year-old from Tabusintac and a 35-year-old from Brantville -- were recovered around the same area at approximately 4 p.m. on Sunday, the RCMP confirmed.
Authorities believe the men were not wearing survivor suits or life vests.
The search for the men had involved five search-and-rescue teams, a platoon from the military base CFB Gagetown and local fishermen and residents.
The Transportation Safety Board has deployed a team to investigate the incident.
A minister of a United Church in Tabusintac said the loss has left the tight-knit community of about 1,000 people in mourning, coming two weeks after a fire destroyed five fishing boats at the Tabusintac Wharf.
"They were trying to get over the episode of the burning boats, and then this," Olive Ann Archibald of the Tabusintac Pastoral Church said. "It's very hard on the whole community.”
Archibald will be offering counselling in the community.
The captain of the boat that ran aground on Saturday had rented the vessel after his own boat was gutted in the May 5 fire, Serge Robichaud, Conservative MLA for Miramichi Bay-Neguac, said.
Mayor Georges R. Savoie of the nearby town of Neguac said the entire region has been hit hard by the recent incidents.
“This is another disaster, one after the other, that hits the community,” he said. “It’s not only the people in Tabusintac; it’s whole area. This is a family.”
“We hope that fishermen will stick together, the families will be behind them and they will support them for this terrible time.”
Saturday’s accident echoes another fishing tragedy in the Maritimes earlier this year.
In February, five Nova Scotia fishermen were lost at sea after their boat, the Miss Ally, capsized during a violent storm. Their bodies were never recovered.
With files from The Canadian Press and a report from CTV Atlantic’s David Bell