HOWARDS COVE – A Tignish fisherman pulled the engine box off his burning boat and used it as a raft while he waited to be rescued early this morning off of West Point.
The fisherman, Adam Gaudet, was alone in his boat when it caught fire. He had left overnight from Murray Corner, N.B., where he had a fall lobster gear, to sail his boat home to P.E.I. for the winter.
Around 4:30 a.m. Gaudet contacted Coast Guard to report his boat, Rather Have Ruffles, was on fire.
Howard’s Cove fisherman Robbie Cooke, was contacted shortly before 5 a.m. and sailed out with four O’Leary firefighters and auxiliary Coast Guard member Floyd Cook on board.
“He was on the phone the whole time with 911, sitting in his engine box,” Cooke said in describing Gaudet’s predicament. “He flipped his engine box upside down. He was half a mile from his boat, floating in the engine box.”
Besides his cellphone, Cooke said Gaudet had two life jackets, a flare kit and a plastic shovel with him. He was using the shovel as a paddle.
The stranded fisherman advised Coast Guard he would fire off a flare once the rescue boat came in view.
“We got a beat on him, and sailed right to him,” Cooke reported, subsequently locating him with the aid of the boat’s searchlight.
“I didn’t even have to leave the wheel,” Cooke said. “They wrestled him right on board.”