Élie Dugas, captain of the fishing boat that sank off Miscou on Monday morning, said he's grateful for the help from fellow fishermen.
Within minutes of his distress call at about 6:30 a.m., about eight boats were in sight, ready to help rescue the crew, he told Radio-Canada.
He said he bought the Maximilian two years ago.
"It's a hard blow," Dugas, who's been fishing for 46 years, told Radio-Canada
Dugas's hometown was not available.
He said they were only fishing for herring and mackerel for the year, and it's not easy to lose one's livelihood.
Dugas said it was raining and windy when they first discovered there was a problem. He said the crew was afraid of capsizing.
Rescuers try to pump then tow
Rescuers first tried to pump out the water and then tow the herring boat, but it was soon determined to be too dangerous.
"We couldn't save the boat," said Steven Hughes, one of the fishermen who participated in the rescue.
Hughes said his boat received a distress call and arrived at the scene at around 6:30 a.m. on Monday.
Several boats tried to pump out the water, but it was pouring in too quickly.
"The water was coming up to the battery, so basically … their radio, stuff like that, there was a time limit on that usage."
Then they tried to tow the vessel before determining it was too dangerous.
Vessel left to sink
"After 10 minutes of towing, they were forced to leave the ship," Hughes said. "They got on another boat. We had to stop towing because it would have been dangerous for it to pass underneath."
The four crew members of the Maximilian were taken safely to shore.
The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax received the distress call at 6:30 a.m.
"We are extremely happy that there was a boat that was able to respond as quickly as they did, and save the four fishermen who can now return home," said Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens, of the centre.
The captain of the sunk vessel said he believed he had hit a buoy, damaging the boat's shaft, said Hughes.