N.S. fishing communities in mourning after fatal capsizing
Published Sunday, May 13, 2018 4:31PM ADT
Last Updated Sunday, May 13, 2018 6:29PM ADT
Fishing communities across Nova Scotia are in mourning following the death of two fishermen after a lobster boat capsized on the water near Colindale, N.S. early Saturday morning.
Nova Scotia RCMP say they received a 911 call at around 6 a.m. Saturday about a fishing vessel that had capsized less than 100 metres from the shore near Port Hood.
39-year-old Hugh Watts of Port Hood, the captain of the ‘Ocean Star II’ and 58-year-old helper Glen MacDonald of Port Hawkesbury died after the vessel capsized near the shore.
18-year-old helper Elijah Watts, the son of captain Hugh Watts was also thrown from the boat, but was able to swim to shore and survived the incident.
While the small community of Port Hood, N.S. is in mourning over the loss of two lives, the incident has also had a profound effect on other fishing communities in the region.
In Arisaig, N.S., the annual Mother’s Day lobster dinner is always a big attraction. But on this Mother’s Day, the tragedy that occurred Saturday on the other side of the strait is weight heavy on people’s minds.
"It put a chill in all of us when we heard the news yesterday. All the fishermen and everybody in the community here, because we all know the dangers and perils of fishing and the chance that we take some days," says fisherman Duncan MacInnis.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has deployed a team of investigators to Colindale, N.S. to investigate the capsizing of the ‘Ocean Star II’.
It’s believed the captain knew the waters well, as his home is within sight of this shoreline.
"I couldn't believe it, wasn't a setting day, it was just a normal, routine fishing day and to hear two lives, it rocks you," adds community member Daniel Ross.
Research has shown fishing is one of, if not the most dangerous job in the country.
"We all think about it. It's a very dangerous job at times and you know, we never know what's going to happen when you leave the wharf," says fisherman Clarence Arbuckle.
"It's tragic, it's something you worry about but can't predict winds and seas. It just happens fast. It's always a worry," says Monica MacDonald, the wife of a fisherman.
Traditionally there's no fishing on Sunday in many waters near Cape Breton, giving the fishermen a chance to do maintenance and preparation work.
On Monday, most fishing boats will return to the water, and as always there will be prayers in the community that they all return safely.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh.