Lucky to be alive

Two Trin­ity Bay men es­cape burn­ing boat


Eric Pretty Jr., of Dildo, won’t soon for­get the events of Sept. 6.

In the late af­ter­noon, Pretty and his friend Peter Reid, of New Har­bour, were aboard the 48-foot plea­sure craft, Labrador Free­dom, just off Tickle Har­bour Point, near Belle­vue, when dis­as­ter struck.

The two were in the fly­bridge when they re­al­ized some­thing was wrong. Usu­ally de­signed for leisure boats and yachts, a fly­bridge al­lows a nav­i­ga­tor to see all sides of the ocean while nav­i­gat­ing the boat.

“We were sit­ting on the roof, just cruis­ing along and I smelled smoke,” Pretty said.

He lifted up the hatch cover to the engine room and knew im­me­di­ately trou­ble was brew­ing.

“The flames shot right up and she was start­ing to fill up with smoke by then,” he said.

Pretty, who al­ways brings a cell­phone with him, called the Coast Guard and im­me­di­ately jumped aboard a smaller fiber­glass boat, which was be­ing towed by a larger ves­sel. “We aban­doned ship right away,” he said. Mike Bonin, a pub­lic af­fairs of­fi­cer with the Depart­ment of Na­tional De­fence in Hal­i­fax, told CBC that both men were not in the boat long be­fore they were picked up.

Both the Coast Guard and nu­mer­ous ves­sels in Trin­ity Bay re­sponded to the ac­ci­dent.

While in the lifeboat, Pretty watched help­lessly as his boat was con­sumed by fire and later sank into the cold Trin­ity Bay wa­ters. He had only pur­chased the Labrador Free­dom the pre­vi­ous year. “I couldn’t do any­thing about it,” he said. Lucky to be alive When he reached shore, the re­al­iza­tion set in that Pretty had lost his ves­sel, mak­ing it a rough night.

How­ever, the pos­i­tive he took from the hor­ren­dous event was that he and Reid man­aged to get off the boat safely.

“One good thing is that no one lost their life. We’re very lucky,” he said. Sage ad­vice Pretty had ad­vice for any­one who goes out on the wa­ter for plea­sure cruises and the like.

“Make sure you have a life raft or a speed boat tow­ing be­hind the boat,” he said.

Pretty is con­fi­dent that hav­ing the boat saved the lives of he and Reid.

“If we had’ve went into the wa­ter, I don’t think we would be here to­day,” he said.

Coast Guard of­fi­cials are still as­sess­ing the area, en­sur­ing the boat is not a haz­ard to ship­ping lanes and the in­ci­dent is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.


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