Search and rescue operation underway after vessel sinks

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UPDATED AT 4 P.M.: A search and rescue operation was still underway at 4 p.m. on Wednesday to locate the captain of a fishing vessel.

The 57-foot dragger Pubnico Explorer sank Wednesday morning after it began taking on water off Port Maitland while en route to its homeport in Meteghan.

Major James Simiana, a public affairs officer with Joint Task Force Atlantic, said late Wednesday afternoon that the search was still continuing for the captain, who was reportedly wearing a full emergent suit.

Three other crewmembers were rescued from a life raft and transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Westport, which is transporting them to their homeport. They were reported to be in good condition physically, although obviously very shaken up and concerned for their crewmate.

At the time the vessel went down on Dec. 16 the winds were 30 knots and seas were four to six metres. A C-130 Hercules and a Cormorant helicopter out of 14 Wing Greenwood have been involved in the search for the missing fisherman. The Coast Guard vessel Edward Cornwallis is also on the scene. “Apparently its main pump had failed but the electric sump pump onboard the ship was apparently still working, so they thought that they would be able to manage the situation, however, for whatever reason, the ship was taking on water and I guess they weren’t able to keep ahead of it, but I don’t know how she actually started to take on water,” Major Simiana said earlier in the day. “The ship sank approximately 15 nautical miles northwest of Yarmouth.”

Major Siminana said he didn’t know if there were other fishing vessels in the area providing assistance in the search. Many lobster fishermen did not go fishing today due to weather and sea conditions.

Organizations: Coast Guard

Geographic location: Port Maitland, Meteghan, Yarmouth

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