Boat capsizes off Nova Scotia

A search was underway Monday for five fishermen whose vessel capsized off the southwest coast of Nova Scotia in 10-metre seas lashed by hurricane-force winds.

The 13-metre boat, based in Nova Scotia's Shelburne County, had a crew of five on board when it sent out a distress signal Sunday at 11 p.m., said navy spokesman Lt. Peter Ryan.

"The weather out there was very poor, low visibility and high winds and very challenging seas," he said in an interview from the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax.

A Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter and two Canadian Coast Guard vessels — Earl Grey and Sir William Alexander — were dispatched to the area, about 120 kilometres southeast of Liverpool.

Ryan said the crew of a U.S. Coast Guard aircraft, believed to be a Falcon twin-engine jet, reported spotting a life-raft early Monday, but he couldn't offer further details.

"There's a wide search underway and the situation is evolving," he said.

The overnight storm knocked out power for thousands of Nova Scotians and schools were cancelled in parts of the province Monday.

At Baccaro Point in southwestern Nova Scotia, wind gusts were recorded at 80 to 90 kilometres per hour throughout the night and much of Monday morning.

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