Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No bodies in capsized fishing boat

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WOODS HARBOUR, N.S. -- The father of one of five young Nova Scotia fishermen lost at sea says word that divers found no sign of their bodies beneath a capsized vessel is hard to accept, yet it gives him a sense of closure.

"There's no need for any more search," said George Hopkins, whose 27-year-old son Joel Hopkins was among the missing.

Nearby, a dozen cars were parked and a steady stream of family friends came and went, offering condolences as they entered his brightly lit house.

"It wasn't the result we wanted," said Hopkins.

"But for me there's closure knowing the search is over and there's no hope now of anybody being alive."

RCMP said Saturday they've been told no bodies were found in a search of an overturned boat off southwest Nova Scotia by divers on a private fishing vessel.

The Mounties said the captain of the Slave Driver told the Canadian Coast Guard Vessel Sir William Alexander around 6 p.m. Saturday that divers had visually confirmed that there were no bodies in the Miss Ally.

Supt. Sylvie Bourassa-Muise said according to the information police received, the divers also found that no wheelhouse or sleeping quarters were attached to the vessel's hull.

For Hopkins, the details of the missing wheelhouse was decisive and crushing news. He said that no wheelhouse meant that the Miss Ally's life-raft was also torn away.

"With the wheelhouse gone, I think things happened so fast, they didn't have a chance to get in the life-raft. It would be false hope to continue," he said.

Searchers spotted the hull of the boat Saturday morning, about 239 kilometres southeast of Halifax and 46 kilometres northwest of the boat's last known position, RCMP said.

Bourassa-Muise said the HMCS Glace Bay was expected to arrive at the site of the Miss Ally sometime overnight Saturday and would conduct an assessment with a remotely operated vehicle on Sunday morning.

"That is simply done to confirm what the report was from the private fishing boat," said Bourassa-Muise from Woods Harbour, N.S., on Saturday evening. "That will conclude the efforts."

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 24, 2013 A6

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