1 dead, another presumed dead after fishing boat capsizes off Cape Breton coast


One man is dead and another presumed dead after a fishing boat capsized on the weekend off the Cape Breton coast. The man presumed dead is missing after an overnight search.

CCGS Cape Roger, shown on Friday, March 26, 2021, is continuing the search Sunday. (Name withheld by request)

One crew member is dead and another presumed dead after a fishing boat capsized off the coast of Cape Breton on Saturday.

The crew member of the Tyhawk fishing vessel who has died was one of four pulled from the water and taken to hospital.

Another crew member is missing and presumed dead after an unsuccessful overnight search.

The Tyhawk belongs to the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, according to band councillor Ruth Levi.

Levi said the boat and its crew left waters near the community early Saturday to fish snow crab off Chéticamp. It was the first day of the season.

A statement posted on the Elsipogtog First Nation Band’s Facebook page by the Elsipogtog Chief & Council on Sunday afternoon said two people were dead.

“As our community comes to grips with this tragedy, we cannot help but to be reminded of the dangers our brave fishers face each year to support their families and communities,” the statement said. 

“As all fishers understand and accept the inherent risks that come with their profession, nothing can ever truly prepare us for a tragedy such as this.”

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax got a call from the Tyhawk at 5:46 p.m. AT Saturday to say it was sinking, according to public affairs officer Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens. That call was cut short, Owens said.

The vessel had capsized, but four of the five crew members were pulled from the water by a local fishing boat that first located the Tyhawk.

The crew members were taken to hospital, but Owens had no comment on their condition.

As of 0600 ADT, the search for the missing member of the FV Tyhawk continues. Due to significant icing conditions and effect on both air and marine vessels, both the Cormorant and Hercules were unable to fly and returned to Greenwood.


“We haven’t seen any indication of the fifth member yet, but we’re going to continue searching throughout the day, hopefully with some positive results,” Owens said Sunday morning.

A CH149 Cormorant helicopter and a CH130 Hercules aircraft, along with two coast guard ships, were sent to search for the missing crew member — the boat capsized about 30 kilometres west of Chéticamp, N.S., according to Owens.

The two helicopters have since been grounded and one coast guard ship departed the area due to deteriorating weather conditions. Owens said freezing rain and low cloud cover is making for poor visibility. 

A search is ongoing in the waters off the coast of Cape Breton for one of five people from the FV Tyhawk fishing vessel. A spokesperson for the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax said on Saturday the vessel was believed to be about 30 kilometres west of Chéticamp, N.S. (Google)

“This weather system that’s coming through Nova Scotia is hitting that area hard right now,” he said, adding that the situation will be reassessed hourly as the weather system passes.

One coast guard ship, the CCGS Cape Roger, is continuing the search Sunday.

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