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Five crew rescued after mussel boat runs aground off Prince Edward Island

Five crew members from a mussel fishing boat that ran aground in rough seas off Prince Edward Island’s North Shore are safe following a rescue by a local fire department on Monday, May 13, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-New London Fire Company-Curtis Cole **MANDATORY CREDIT**

MALPEQUE BAY, P.E.I. — Firefighters rescued five crew members from a mussel fishing boat that ran aground in rough seas off Prince Edward Island’s North Shore on Monday.

The RCMP said no injuries were reported following the rescue carried out with a Zodiac boat from the New London Fire Company off Malpeque Harbour.

New London firefighter Jonathan Gillis said his department received a call requesting assistance around 8:50 a.m. from the Kensington, P.E.I., fire department. Gillis said his department used its inflatable boat to get to the mussel boat, which was stranded on a sandbar and taking on water.

“They hit a sandbar and the tide was coming in,” Gillis said. “The captain of that vessel is actually quite experienced; however, sandbars can shift. The tide caught their boat a bit as they were coming in (to the harbour).”

He said a number of other fishing boats were in the area but were too large and couldn’t get close enough to the stranded boat.

“They tried to get close, but to no avail,” Gillis said, adding that the sea was so rough the grounded boat was swamped and its crew, who were wearing life jackets, had to stand on the roof of the vessel until they were picked up.

“It’s still early in the season and the waters are still very frigid,” Gillis said.

The rescue boat was able to get everyone safely back to the harbour, despite also taking on some water in the rough conditions.

Gillis said the New London department felt fortunate to be involved in the rescue, after having acquired its rescue boat only recently.

“It’s been in service for about a month now,” he said. “As far as I’m aware, we are the only department on the North Shore … that even has a boat.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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