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Search on for missing fishermen

Two coast guard vessels and a rescue helicopter searched late Monday for the crew of a fishing boat that went missing off the southwest coast of Nova Scotia in 10-metre seas lashed by hurricane-force winds.

The 13-metre boat, based in Woods Harbour, N.S., had a crew of five on board when its emergency locator beacon transmitted a distress signal Sunday at 11 p.m., said navy Lt. Peter Ryan, spokesman for the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax.

"The weather out there was very poor, low visibility and high winds and very challenging seas," he said in an interview.

A Canadian Forces Cormorant helicopter and two Canadian Coast Guard light icebreakers, Earl Grey and Sir William Alexander, were dispatched to the area, about 120 kilometres southeast of Liverpool.

The helicopter crew conducted a four-hour search Monday morning then headed to 12 Wing Shearwater near Halifax for refuelling before resuming the search.

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

George Hopkins, the father of one of the missing men, 27-year-old Joel Hopkins of Woods Harbour, said the name of the vessel is the Miss Ally and its crew is experienced.

"They are to a certain extent, but the captain is really young," said Hopkins. "I don't know how experienced you can be when he's only 21 or so. ... The oldest one is only about 32 or 33."

The Canadian Press


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