Feb 24, 2013 / 1:00 pm
Hundreds of people gathered in churches in southwestern Nova Scotia on Sunday as friends and religious leaders urged their communities to offer support to the families grieving the loss of five young fishermen.
"This is a time of sorrow," said Sandy Stoddard, a veteran fishermen who was among the last to have radio contact with the captain of the Miss Ally, 21-year-old Katlin Nickerson.
"I've lost a piece of me," he said as he spoke tenderly to crying relatives in Calvary United Baptist church in Woods Harbour, where about 500 people filled the pews.
Pastor Phil Williams urged the residents of the fishing village to continue supporting one another after a week filled with dashed hopes and criticism of the rescue and recovery efforts for the overturned hull of the boat.
The vessel's emergency beacon was detected by search-and-rescue officials last Sunday, as a storm with hurricane-force winds created massive waves over a 100 kilometres southeast of Liverpool.
The date of Feb. 17 will now be etched in the collective memory of Woods Harbour, said Williams.
"It has been a defining moment in our community's life," he said. "That which we have feared the most has come upon us."
Police have not formally released the names of the fishermen, but family members have identified Cole Nickerson, Billy Jack Hatfield and Joel Hopkins as three crew on board. The other two men were identified at a local prayer service last Tuesday evening as Katlin Nickerson and Tyson Townsend.
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