Ship runs aground off Newfoundland, local couple invites rescued crew in for tea

Nadine Kalinauskas
Ship runs aground off Newfoundland, local couple invites rescued crew in for tea

On March 15, around 1:30 p.m., the bulk carrier John I ran aground about 1.5 kilometres off the southwest coast of Newfoundland.

A Cormorant Search and Rescue helicopter, dispatched from 103 Squadron in Gander, air-lifted the 23 Syrian crew members to safety. There were no reported injuries.

When the first half of the crew arrived on shore, they were invited into a local home for tea.

Wilfred and Wanda Parsons of Rose Blanche welcomed a dozen crew members into their home after the Cormorant helicopter landed in their backyard.

"The guy asked if they could come in for a little bit while they went back for the other crew," Wilfred told The Telegram.

For 45 minutes, they kept the men warm, serving them tea and coffee. Their neighbour, Bernice Hatcher, popped in to offer fresh homemade cinnamon rolls. (The Telegram reports that one of the rescued crew members asked for the recipe.)

Soon the helicopter returned — this time with dozens of local residents gathering to watch the excitement — and picked up the men staying at the Parsons' to bring them to the town of Burgeo.

John I, which had been en route to Montreal from Spain, now sits just metres from a large shoal. It was empty of freight when its engine failed. It was, however, carrying diesel, lube oil and intermediate oil. Residents are concerned about the damage an impending storm could do to the ship. An environmental response crew was called in to investigate.