By Amy Woolvett
THE COAST GUARD
Candles will be burning through the night in the community as a symbol of hope to bring five fishermen home safe to their families.
Hope is evident in the rescue teams who have strengthened their task force and are searching throughout the night.
The fishing vessel, Miss Ally’s emergency locator beacon was activated at 11:06 p.m. Sunday Feb. 17. after setting out from their home port of Wood’s Harbour.
An US Coast Guard aircraft from Cape Cod was dispatched along with two Canadian Coast Guard vessels and a Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter to search for the missing crew.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans as well as merchant vessels have also joined in the search.
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“All hands are on deck,” says Capt. Doug Keirstead with the Joint Task Force Atlantic Public Affairs. “The search is ongoing and we plan to search throughout the night.”
He says that the seas are still quite rough with 6 metre swells but the teams are actively searching for the men.
“The challenge is definitely weather,” says Capt. Keirstead. “We were dealing with very rough 10 metre seas, hurricane force winds and zero visibility.”
It was the US Coast Guard aircraft that spotted the life raft Sunday in the early morning.
They dropped a beacon to be able to better follow the path of the life raft.
“They are getting data from the beacon,” he says. “But the seas are very unpredictable.”
He says that the beacon was only dropped near the raft and not in it and with such high wind and seas it is uncertain whether the beacon and the life raft travelled in the same direction.
But he says that the commitment of the task force is strong and plans to exhaust all efforts in the continued search.
“We are still actively looking and will be throughout the night,” he says. “We will make sure we cover as much ground as possible.”