Search continues for 54-year-old missing fisherman off Yarmouth

·3 min read
The FV Miss Janet seen here docked in Yarmouth, N.S., on Oct. 14, 2021. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC - image credit)
The FV Miss Janet seen here docked in Yarmouth, N.S., on Oct. 14, 2021. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC - image credit)

A search is underway off southern Nova Scotia for a 54-year-old fisherman who went missing from his boat overnight.

The man is the captain of a fishing vessel identified as the Miss Janet, which was travelling from Shelburne to Saulnierville, N.S.

The man's identity has not been released at the request of his family, according to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre which is overseeing the search.

The centre said they were notified at about 4 a.m. AT Thursday about a man who had gone overboard from a fishing vessel about 27 kilometres off the coast of Yarmouth, N.S.

Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens said there were initially four people on board the vessel Wednesday evening. Three of them went to sleep, leaving the captain in the wheelhouse.

When one of them woke up at about 3:30 a.m. AT, the captain was no longer in the wheelhouse. They searched the boat, but he wasn't on board.

The crew immediately made a distress call.

Brett Ruskin/CBC
Brett Ruskin/CBC

Owens said the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Clarks Harbour, CCGS Corporal Teather, a Cormorant helicopter, a Hercules airplane and a PAL aircraft — a private airplane on contract with the military — were dispatched to the area.

An additional coast guard vessel, CCGS Sir William Alexander, joined the search early Thursday afternoon.

A tweet late Thursday afternoon from the JRCC said fog had affected the visibility of the aircraft searching for the man, but the coast guard ships were continuing to search along with several commercial vessels.

A 6:28 p.m. tweet said three coast guard auxiliary vessels have joined the search, as well as a "fast rescue craft."

Fishers are 'shaken'

The Corporal Teather was closest to the boat, and when it arrived, members of the coast guard boarded the fishing vessel to pilot it back to shore, where it docked around 5 a.m.

Owens said the fishers are "shaken from the events and what they awoke to."

The band office of the Sipekne'katik First Nation confirmed the missing man is a member of the community. Several fishermen from Sipekne'katik were out on the water assisting in the search Thursday.

"We are focused on supporting our community at this time," Chief Mike Sack said in a statement to CBC News.

The Coldwater Lobster Association, which represents area fishermen, said several of its members were also helping to look for the missing man.

The commercial fishing season opened Thursday in Lobster Fishing Area 35 in the Bay of Fundy. The commercial season opens Nov. 29 in the neighbouring areas of 33 and 34.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Favourable sea conditions

Owens said there were no apparent mechanical issues with the vessel, and the weather was relatively calm.

"Sea conditions seemed favourable," he said. "There was light winds, one-metre seas, which is quite calm for the ocean, a little bit of light mist, but nothing of significant concern. So we're not really sure what would have transpired."

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