Fleur de Lys, Coachman's Cove residents mourn loss of men recovered from sunken vessel

56-year-old Leonard Walsh, left, and 58-year-old Brian Walsh died after their fishing boat sank off Fleur de Lys last week. The communities of Fleur de Lys and Coachman's Cove gathered Tuesday for their funerals. (Sunset Memorial Funeral Home - image credit)
56-year-old Leonard Walsh, left, and 58-year-old Brian Walsh died after their fishing boat sank off Fleur de Lys last week. The communities of Fleur de Lys and Coachman's Cove gathered Tuesday for their funerals. (Sunset Memorial Funeral Home - image credit)
56-year-old Leonard Walsh, left, and 58-year-old Brian Walsh died after their fishing boat sank off Fleur de Lys last week. The communities of Fleur de Lys and Coachman's Cove gathered Tuesday for their funerals.
56-year-old Leonard Walsh, left, and 58-year-old Brian Walsh died after their fishing boat sank off Fleur de Lys last week. The communities of Fleur de Lys and Coachman's Cove gathered Tuesday for their funerals.

56-year-old Leonard Walsh, left, and 58-year-old Brian Walsh died after their fishing boat sank off Fleur de Lys last week. The communities of Fleur de Lys and Coachman's Cove gathered Tuesday for their funerals. (Sunset Memorial Funeral Home)

Residents of Fleur de Lys and Coachman's Cove on the northeast coast of Newfoundland came together Tuesday to mourn the loss of two cousins whose fishing vessel sank last week.

Brian Walsh, 58, and Leonard Walsh, 56, were recovered by local fishermen as part of a search and rescue mission on Sept. 13.

Their 23-foot boat went down less than two kilometres away from Fleur de Lys around 3 p.m. that day — about 100 metres off the shoreline.

One person survived the incident, while the body of a fourth man — Tim Shea — has not yet been recovered. Search efforts were called off on Saturday.

Cari-An Barker, the mayor of Coachman's Cove, said the townspeople are devastated by the loss.

"It has been a very trying time. People are, as you can imagine, devastated. Because, you know, people have not lost just family. It's friends, it's community members," Barker told CBC Radio before the funeral on Tuesday.

"People are just doing what we do best, supporting everyone. And yeah, being there for anything we can do for anyone."

Barker said she and her husband were close with Brian Walsh. She remembers him as a kind person with a quick wit and a love for playing darts.

"A friend of mine, she went to the wake yesterday and she had met Brian's son for the first time…She said 'I'm really gonna miss him at darts,' And he had said to her 'Well, at least now you'll get a chance to win,'" she said with a laugh. "So, as always, Newfoundlanders can always find a little bit of humour, no matter what we're going through."

Barker said the wounds are still fresh for many, and the community is working through their pain together.

"We're able to lay two men to rest. But as for Tim, we're not able to do that for his family yet. And I'm hoping and praying that we're able to, just to give them some closure," she said.

"I wouldn't say we'll move on, but eventually we'll move forward. And that's what they'd want us to do."

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