Search for 5 missing fishermen in Bay of Fundy stretches into 2nd day

The search for five missing fishermen has stretched into its second day, after a scallop vessel sent out an emergency beacon in the Bay of Fundy early Tuesday morning.

Late yesterday evening, the Maritime Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) announced on Twitter that the body of one of the six crew members from the Chief William Saulis had been found.

Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens, with the JRCC, could not say exactly where the remains were discovered. He said the body was found just before dinnertime on Tuesday.

“We had to notify the next of kin to make sure that they were fully aware,” Owens said Wednesday morning. “So it did take a little bit of time to make sure they were properly prepared and understanding what had transpired.”

Owens said while crews continued searching throughout the night, they did not find anyone else.

“Certainly our focus still remains hopefully finding these individuals and hopefully bringing them safely to their families,” Owens said.

Pictured here, the Chief William Saulis scallop fishing vessel in November 2020. (Katherine Bickford)

The JRCC said the emergency signal came in at 5:51 a.m. AT on Tuesday near Delaps Cove, N.S.

Debris was spotted from the air later that morning and two life rafts washed ashore but no one was on board.

A Hercules aircraft and a Cormorant helicopter from CFB Greenwood, along with three coast guard ships, were dispatched to help with the search, facing strong winds and high sea levels.

Environment Canada has issued another gale warning for the area on Wednesday morning, with winds reaching up to 35 knots. There is also a warning for freezing spray.

Ground search and rescue personnel support efforts from shore, while other fishing vessels have also joined to help with the search.

Searchers scour through the rocky shoreline in Steves Cove where debris washed up on Tuesday, while a fishing boat continues the search at sea in the distance. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

Owens said the search crews have rotated and are continuing to comb the area on Wednesday morning. He said while he hasn’t heard directly from the squadron, he suspects the crews would be affected by the situation.

“The search and rescue technicians that we have in the Canadian Forces are outstanding in how they conduct themselves and their focus during any search and rescue,” he said.

“But I’m sure it takes a bit of a toll on everyone to deal with a situation like we’re dealing with right now.”

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