Dark­ness played fac­tor in Pla­cen­tia ves­sel ac­ci­dent

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

It is still not known the cost of the dam­age done to Pla­cen­tia- based fish­ing ves­sel Suzanne Mary af­ter an early morn­ing col­li­sion May 3.

The 36-foot boat was on its “third trip un­der the bridge” headed for a load of crab when it col­lided with the north pier of the lift bridge in Pla­cen­tia at ap­prox­i­mately 3:30 a.m.

A spokesman with the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works said the bridge was not dam­aged.

Owner/op­er­a­tor Leo Gam­bin, of Ferndale, sus­tained a bro­ken hip in the ac­ci­dent and was im­me­di­ately taken to hospi­tal in St. John’s.

The Com­pass was able to reach Leo’s son Rick, a deck­hand on the Suzanne Mary, and spoke to him about the col­li­sion.

He said the boat had just left the wharf at Jersey­side and lined up to go un­der the bridge.

The ves­sel usu­ally has three of four crew mem­bers aboard ev­ery time out.

“There were no lights on un­der­neath the bridge where we go out,” said Rick. “It was pitch black.”

The tide could have played a fac­tor in the col­li­sion, as it was rolling out that morn­ing.

“There’s a lot of tide there with that bridge,” he said. “Maybe if the tide was rolling in, it wouldn’t have hap­pened.”

The flow of the sea guided the Suzanne Mary, this cou­pled with the con­struc­tion of the new bridge left lit­tle room to turn around. “There’s no room for er­ror,” said Rick. The ves­sel sus­tained se­ri­ous dam­age. The side of the boat where the col­li­sion took place col­lapsed, along with dam­age done to the ves­sel’s mast.

“The mast and ca­bles started com­ing down across the deck of her,” said Rick.

The dam­age done to the Suzanne Mary puts a stop to fish­ing for crab for at least a cou­ple of weeks for her crew.

It was to be the ves­sel’s third trip out and only its sec­ond to check its pots. The first trip is usu­ally re­served for set­ting those pots.

“We don’t know how long we’re go­ing to held up,” said Rick.

Sub­mit­ted photo

Pla­cen­tia-based fish­ing ves­sel Suzanne Mary was in­volved in an early morn­ing ac­ci­dent on May 3.

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