NORTH CAPE, P.E.I. - Residents are continuing to make trips to North Cape looking for two fishermen who have been missing since their boat sank here on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 18.
P.E.I. Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) personnel are there, too, co-ordinating search operations from the parking lot of the Wind ‘n Reef Restaurant and Interpretation Centre.
The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax called off its air and sea search Wednesday night, but the ground search, led by volunteers with GSAR continues.
Cpl. Al Vincent with Prince District RCMP was serving as incident commander Thursday. He said the volunteers want to bring closure to the families of the two missing men - Glen DesRoches, 57, the captain of the Kyla Anne, and his longtime first mate, Moe Getson, 54. One crewmember, Tanner Gaudet, 22, made it to shore safely.
Vincent could not anticipate how long search operations will continue.
“Even in conversations with the families so far, and even though it is extremely sad, the reality is we don’t expect to find them alive at this point, as unfortunate as that may be, but just finding them would be tremendous, and that’s what we are going to try to do, but I can’t honestly say how long that’s going to be as far as the active ground search efforts,” Vincent said.
“We are doing all we can to try to bring them some closure.”
PEIGSAR has been on the ground since daybreak Wednesday and maintained a limited presence overnight.
Volunteers have searched the shoreline and cliffs from Seacow Pond, all the way around the North Cape point to Skinners Pond. Vincent said searchers, working in teams, actually covered that coastline multiple times on Wednesday taking the rising and falling of tides into consideration. He said they were covering that area again on Thursday and extending the search beyond Skinners Pond and Seacow Pond, although he did not know for what distance.
Vincent confirmed the RCMP has consulted with various agencies, including the JRCC, with expertise on drift patterns.
“We’re trying to cover as much ground as we can but, at the same time, trying to make it the smartest search areas, especially the likelihood of finding someone or finding a clue,” he said.
Francis Morrissey, president of the Western Gulf Fishermen’s Association, said fall fishermen from Sea Cow Pond and Tignish ports, at the request of the family, landed Glen DesRoches’ fishing gear on Thursday and returned it to Tignish Run. He said his association and the PEIFA has extended its support to the families and to the first responders involved in the search operations. He said fishermen are also committed to spending some time during their fishing trips looking for the missing men.
A few area residents were also walking the beaches, looking for clues, but most of those arriving at the cape watched from above, standing along the rugged cliffs or seated in their vehicles, staring at the shoreline and out onto the water. Several fixed their gazes on fishing boats in the area, especially boats rounding the cape outside of the reef.
The Journal Pioneer has been covering this story extensively since it started to develop: