All safe following emergency response
Rescue arranged by neighbouring fire departments, local boat owners
The sound of sirens and the echo of speeding vehicles was apparent on Water Street in Carbonear Sept. 18 at 5 p.m.
The Carbonear Volunteer Fire Department and the Harbour Grace Volunteer Fire Brigade sprung into action when they received a call from the RCMP about a possible overturned sailboat off Crocker’s Cove Beach around Carbonear Island, firefighters said.
Harbour Grace’s cold-water rescue team was also dispatched when it got word that at least two occupants were on board.
The joint rescue co-ordination centre in Halifax were also notified of the situation.
There was no time to waste. It was all hands on deck when witnesses saw the boat disappear behind the island.
Preparing for the rescue
A 65-foot fishing vessel called the Covenant II was the first boat on the scene. It was searching the waters around Carbonear Island when firefighters first arrived at Crocker’s Cove.
Local fisherman and Carbonear Mayor Sam Slade immediately offered his assistance in the rescue efforts. The Carbonear fire department informed him of the situation as soon as they were notified by the RCMP.
Boat owner and charter tours operator Dean Penney also had his vessel — 3 Ladies — out on the water, although he was not onboard.
Boyd Snow of Bristol’s Hope is a member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and received a call from the JRCC Halifax. His personal boat is tied up at the marina in Harbour Grace but friend Dean Penney offered his own vessel to him for the search.
Slade met the cold water rescue team at Carbonear wharf after it was determined the waves were too rough and the distance was too far for the cold water rescue craft to be used.
Slade, his son Wayne and the team boarded Slade’s boat — the Dana Denise — and headed towards the vessel’s last known whereabouts, south of Carbonear Island.
Slade kept watch at the back of the pack, while Snow hurried toward where two locals claimed to have seen the boat last — towards Bristol’s Hope.
Carbonear’s firefighters left Crocker’s Cove and drove to meet the two boats near Bristol’s Hope.
With suit and tie on, S lade maneuvered his boat to where the sailboat rested in the cove. It was achnored down near the shore when rescue arrived.
The crews noted the small craft had not capsized and no one had fallen in the water. The sailboat had made the trip from its homeport of Holyrood and experienced some rough waves. The cold-water rescue crew said the occupants were trying to seek shelter from the wind.
The initial call to the RCMP was made after someone thought they saw the boat overturn with several people in the water.
Firefighters confirm the owner of the boat was dropping his sail and it fell in the water. It is believed this is what the caller had seen.
After verifying the crew of four was fine, both boats headed back to Carbonear wharf.
The crew of the sailboat made the Bristol’s Hope cove their home for the night.
Carbonear Assistant Fire Chief Brent Sweeney was appreciative for the assistance they received from Harbour Grace.
“We are so thankful that the department was here to give us a hand,” he explained. “And we are also thankful to Sam and Dean for taking the time to look for the boaters.”
Sweeney also mentioned two locals, Danny Dwyer and Dennis Ash Sr., who offered their life jackets and other boating gear for the rescue crew to take out.
The head of the Harbour Grace cold-water rescue team, Bill Ryan, said they were happy they could be of assistance, but were grateful rescue wasn’t needed.
Locals gathered around the wharf as the boats headed in to shore. Some even cheered when they learned everything was alright and no one had fallen into the water.
The cold-water rescue team from Harbour Grace were all smiles after learning all patrons of a sailboat that allegedly overturned near Carbonear Harbour were all safe and dry in Bristol’s Hope cove. Those on one of the rescue boats were, from left, Wade Luffman, Dave Regular, Wayne Slade, boat owner Sam Slade, head of cold water rescue Bill Ryan and Stephen Sullivan.