Fathers ask for retrieval of boat, bodies

The fathers of two young Nova Scotia fishermen who disappeared when their boat capsized in violent seas issued emotional appeals Wednesday to the Canadian government to retrieve the vessel and, with it, possibly the bodies of their sons.

Stephen Nickerson and George Hopkins say the 13-metre boat, spotted overturned Monday morning off southwest Nova Scotia, could contain the remains of the five crew on the Miss Ally, along with answers as to why the boat flipped over Sunday night.

The two men, speaking in separate interviews, say time is running out because the boat is unlikely to stay afloat for much longer.

"If my boy is in that boat, I want to bring him home," Nickerson said. "I think he's in that boat and I think attempts should be made to (salvage the vessel)."

In addition to Cole Nickerson and Joel Hopkins, three other men were aboard the Miss Ally when it capsized in rough seas some time after 11 p.m. Sunday.

Stephen Nickerson said he's asked the military for a salvage operation, but was told the case is now being handled by the RCMP as a missing persons file.

"It seems like they're not going to do anything about that," said Nickerson, a fisherman for 35 years. "They said the search is called off and it's been turned over to the RCMP. That's it. That's as far as they go. ... We're all mad. It should go farther."

George Hopkins agreed, saying the families need both closure and a sense that they did all they could to find the five fishermen who left behind young children, parents or spouses.

"We need to know if there's bodies in there," he said.

"These kids were important. They were important to me, they were important to this community and there's five young boys in the prime of their life. We need closure. We need to know for sure that we've done everything we can."

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