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UPDATED: Search underway off North Cape, P.E.I., for missing fishermen

The North Cape lighthouse casts its beam out over the waterer where a fishing boat is believed to have sank Tuesday afternoon. Two of the three men from the vessel are missing. The third made it to shore and alerted emergency personnel of the tragedy.
The North Cape lighthouse casts its beam out over the water where a fishing boat is believed to have sank Tuesday afternoon. Two of the three men from the vessel are missing. The third made it to shore and alerted emergency personnel of the tragedy. - Eric McCarthy

Third member of crew made it safely to shore

TIGNISH, P.E.I. - Crews are searching for two fishermen missing off the north shore of P.E.I. after their boat capsized in heavy seas and rain.

Maj. Mark Gough of Maritime Forces Atlantic says three aircraft, several fishing boats and three coast guard vessels are involved in the search this morning near Tignish.

He says the 12-metre fishing boat, the Kyla Anne, got into trouble at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

One man on board managed to swim ashore and call for help, prompting a search from the air and on the ground by the local RCMP and fire department.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Teleost, a Canadian Armed Forces Cormorant helicopter and a Hercules airplane began searching the area where the two fishermen were reported missing, and continued their work through the night.

Gough says the weather conditions have improved in the area, but it wasn't clear exactly where the boat capsized.

It also wasn't known what condition the man was in after he swam to shore.

Some fishermen at the Cape Tuesday night estimated the fisherman who swam to shore, believed to be in his late teens, might have been in the water for close to two hours.

Tignish Fire Chief Allan Gavin makes a call while participating in a search and rescue operation at North Cape Tuesday night. Emergency personnel and area residents were maintaining a vigil there near the spot where a fishing boat is believed to have sank Tuesday afternoon. Two fishermen from the boat are missing. A third man made it safely to shore.
Tignish Fire Chief Allan Gavin makes a call while participating in a search and rescue operation at North Cape Tuesday night. Emergency personnel and area residents were maintaining a vigil there near the spot where a fishing boat is believed to have sank Tuesday afternoon. Two fishermen from the boat are missing. A third man made it safely to shore.

There was a steady stream of community members arriving at the cape all evening, staring out over the water as darkness set in and talking quietly in small groups.

“That’s the worst area on the Island,” said one area fisherman who did not want to be named. The water runs shallow for a long stretch, he explained, compounded too, by the North Cape reef. He said the missing boat, from Tignish, was thought to have been the last of the fishing boats to leave Lobster Fishing Area 25 to sail back towards home port in Tignish.

There was speculation the boat might have suddenly taken on water and sank quickly.

Ambulance, police and fire personnel were on scene.

Social media was filled with posts offering prayers and support for the fishermen, their families and the Tignish area. A prayer session was announced for 9 a.m. Wednesday at St. Simon and St. Jude Church in Tignish.

Fishing conditions were relatively good Tuesday morning but weather worsened later in the morning. A strong wind was blowing at the cape during the search and rescue operation.

Allan Gavin, chief of the Tignish Fire Department, said the search was under the command of Coast Guard. He said firemen and area residents were walking the shores looking for any sign of the missing men. Approximately four fishing boats were participating in the search, concentrating their efforts back towards Skinners Pond. A Coast Guard ship was said to be en route.

With files from The Canadian Press

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