Coast Guard helps RCMP search for fishermen, as father calls for all-out effort
MARY’S HARBOR, NL – A Coast Guard vessel and a provincial water bomber continued the search for two missing fishermen on Monday, after the father of one of the lost men called Ottawa to resume a full search off the coast of Labrador.
Dwight Russell said in an interview Monday morning that his family in Mary’s Harbor had been “diverted” by the military and the Canadian Coast Guard, after the Joint Halifax Search and Rescue Center said Sunday evening he was transferring. the RCMP case.
âEven a recovery mission would require Coast Guard support because of where this search and rescues are taking place. They just shut it down and it was goodbye, you’re on your own,â the father said. .
Russell said his family believed the Federal Rescue Service should have continued their full search efforts for his son Marc Freeman Russell and teammate Joey Jenkins because he believed the boat could have two outboard motors. drift far offshore.
Late Monday afternoon, an RCMP spokeswoman said the case was now considered a missing person case, but the Coast Guard vessel Captain Molly Kool “remains at sea and continues to assist the RCMP “.
Cpl. Jolene Garland also said in a press release that the aircraft were “coordinated by the RCMP with the support of partner agencies,” although the release did not specify which aircraft were involved.
A separate press release from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador said a provincial water bomber from Deer Lake was also being used to assist in the case.
Russell said rough seas and fog hampered search efforts by helicopters and coastguards on Saturday, and there had been only one day – Sunday – of intensive search for the fishing vessel. Island Lady and her crew have been missing since their absence was reported around 5 p.m. Friday.
He said the full search, with the participation of the rescue coordination center, should have continued until Monday.
Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens, of the Rescue Coordination Center, said on Sunday that searchers had located a blue fishing tank and other debris that likely came from the Island Lady, and the search was officially called off around 9 p.m. Sunday.
Still, Russell says the decision to withdraw the rescue coordination center’s involvement was premature, adding that even if further research resulted in the recovery of the bodies, it would be of great comfort to families and the small community.
âThis research only saw one day of good research conditions,â said Russell. “We need more time.”
Russell, 52, said his 25-year-old son was an experienced fisherman who grew up around boats and fished since he was 15, and is certified as a vessel captain in coastal waters.
“He called at 4pm Friday, but he was cut off because the signal was bad. Usually that call was made to say, ‘I’m done for the day and I’ll come in an hour or two to land my fish, ‘”said Russell.
The father reckons that they weren’t far from the mainland when they were fishing, and he thinks the most likely explanation for what happened is that they had mechanical problems that cut their engines.
The province’s search and rescue capabilities gained visibility after the death of Burton Winters, a 14-year-old boy found dead on the ice floes in Labrador three days after he went snowmobiling in 2012.
In this case, search and rescue planes were not immediately involved in the search for the boy, only joining after local rescue teams made two requests for help.
A provincial inquiry into the province’s ground search and rescue operations was announced last year by the Liberal government.
– By Michael Tutton in Halifax.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 20, 2021.