Opposition staff social goes awry

Teresa Wright twright@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on August 27, 2013
From left, Opposition members James Aylward, Leader Olive Crane, Hal Perry and Colin LaVie make their way to the provincial legislature Wednesday.
Guardian photo

A summer social for provincial Opposition staffers aboard a boat last week came to an abrupt, and literal, halt after the boat hit a sand bar.

Two people, including the driver of the boat, were thrown overboard, according to three independent sources, including one individual who was on the boat when it ran aground Thursday in the Brudenell River.

No one was injured or had to seek medical attention, but Opposition Leader Steven Myers did sustain a minor blow to the head as a result of the impact.

The boating event was part of a summer social for staff of the Opposition office. It was also meant as a sendoff for three students employed in the office for the summer.

Myers and Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie were the only MLAs aboard the boat. LaVie was not hurt.

But two sources told The Guardian the driver of the vessel – a fishing boat that had been hired for the day – was thrown a sizeable distance from the boat into the water.

The other individual thrown overboard was Sheryl MacAulay, communications advisor for the Opposition Tories. Both MacAulay and the boat’s skipper were recovered from the water unharmed.

Despite the incident, neither the passengers nor the boat's captain signalled or called for help to harbour or marine authorities. Instead, they waved down another passing boat and asked to be towed out of the sand bar.

The Guardian has also learned alcohol was being consumed aboard the boat.

An individual who was on the boat when the incident occurred stressed it was a minor episode and one that happens frequently in P.E.I. waters, where sand bars often move and shift with the tides.

This individual also said only 24 beer were brought onto the boat and approximately 16 were consumed among the eight people aboard.

Calls and messages sent Monday to both Myers and LaVie for comment on this story received no response.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa