Fishermen rescued from sinking vessel in Newfoundland
Thursday, June 8, 2017, 8:15 AM - Crew members on board the Avalon Princess have been airlifted to safety after their vessel started to sink off Newfoundland's Baie Verte Peninsula. The boat is one of four caught in heavy sea ice.
Coast guard officials are currently unable to reach or assist the other boats, CBC reports. Two fishing vessels remain stuck off the coast of Baie Verte Peninsula Thursday.
Owner of one of the boats Jamie Matthews told the news agency he has been watching the Avalon Princess sink from nearby, and that he heard a mayday call Wednesday afternoon.
According to Matthews, five boats took off from La Scie Harbour on Tuesday. As soon as they hit open water, they became stuck in thick ice pack. One was able to make it back to shore without any problems, CBC reports.
"We just got out so far here and we couldn't go any further. We just haven't got the power to push the ice," he told the news agency.
Image source: DFO via CBC
CBC reports Matthews' boat is stuck approximately 200 yards from the coast.
"It's big sheets of ice. We looked at it yesterday on the lookout and it didn't seem too bad up there looking down on it," he told CBC. "We figured after so long we would wiggle our way out through. But yeah we're here now and we can't do anything with it."
Blizzard conditions this season have wreaked havoc on the island, and in some cases car-sized chunks of sea ice have been pushed towards the shore.
While it may seem absurd that Matthews and his crew decided to take on the ice, the fisherman told CBC that he was willing to take the risk after two months without pay.
"There's bills to pay and things are piling up, and we've just got to get fishing," he told the news agency. "The time is slipping away."
Pictured above: Jamie Matthews, courtesy CBC
The fishing vessels were supposed to be rescued by the Amundsen, a Canadian Coast Guard ship. However, officials suspended the mission after they discovered the waters near the La Scie Harbour were covered with pack ice measuring two metres thick, CBC reports.
The situation continues to be monitored by the Canadian Coast Guard. The fishermen will have to wait for ice conditions to improve before a path is cleared.
Check back for updates on this developing story.