No sign of the Miss Ally

Greg Bennett
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Debris field found near capsized ship's last position

Searchers looking for the capsized hull of the Miss Ally are reporting a small debris field near where the vessel once was.

The RCMP received help from the Department of National Defence and three aircraft patrolled in vicinity of the Miss Ally’s last known position throughout Thursday morning and afternoon.

A Canadian Armed Forces CC130 SAR Hercules joined aircraft from Transport Canada, and Provincial Airlines to patrol an area more than 1,700 square km with no sighting of the intact capsized hull. Instead, small items of debris were spotted within a 5 nautical miles grouping and concentrated 10 nautical miles east of Miss Ally’s last known position. Initial analysis of the photos taken during the patrol suggests it is likely these items are from the Miss Ally.

“We continue to exhaust all efforts in support of the RCMP and our thoughts and prayers are with the families,” noted Rear-Admiral Dave Gardam, Commander of Joint Task Force Atlantic.

Thursday evening the RCMP gathered the families of the missing men to provide them with the most current update. In addition, the families were given photos from this afternoon’s surveillance flights.

“This is devastating to the families and to the entire community. These men were deeply loved and the loss of young lives will impact the hearts and souls of the fishers and their community for many years to come,” expressed RCMP Superintendent Sylvie Bourassa-Muise, District Policing Officer, Southwest Nova Scotia.

Yet while the RCMP said in a media release that they had gathered the families of the missing men to update them of the situation, one of the families told us Friday morning that they hadn’t been contacted on Thursday by the RCMP to be told directly about what was happening.

Bruce Reynolds, speaking on behalf of Billy Jack Hatfield’s mother, said she wasn’t contacted by the RCMP Thursday to be told that there had been no sign of the Miss Ally that day, or that bits of debris had been found.

“We found out on the TV,” said Reynolds, saying he contacted the RCMP and was told by the police that they were sorry the family hadn’t been notified.

“We just wanted the media to know,” Reynolds said, adding the situation has been very confusing for families who have been holding out hope that the Miss Ally would be searched.

“Last night we had real good hope because the boats were going out and now it’s all gone,” Reynolds said Friday morning.

Reynolds said the family, and himself, has many questions.

 “I’m sure there are probably different scenarios, but why wasn’t the boat tagged where it was, why did it have to be left floating at sea, which is a hazard to navigation? Why wasn’t something done when the Earl Grey was there? She is a large ship,” he wonders. “It’s just my opinion, I feel that they searched everywhere in the water, why didn’t they search the boat?”

Thursday night, two RCMP members boarded the Canadian Coast Guard vessel, Sir William Alexander, alongside the Canadian Coast Guard crew. The Sir William Alexander left Halifax to steam towards the area where the debris field was spotted. The vessel is being deployed to provide safety and security on the water and is prepared to stand-by until further plans are developed

A small flotilla of fishing vessels from Woods Harbour and surrounding areas was also en route to the site in efforts to find the missing fishermen.

On Friday, air force aircraft will conduct an additional over flight of the last known position of the site of debris.

The RCMP continues to operate its Mobile Command Centre outside the Community Centre in Wood’s Harbour as a base of operations. The RCMP has made available Chaplain’s, Counselors, and representatives from RCMP Victim Services to provide support and assistance to the families, friends and the larger community.


Organizations: RCMP, Department of National Defence, Transport Canada Canadian Coast Guard Mobile Command Centre Community Centre

Geographic location: Southwest Nova Scotia, Woods Harbour, Wood

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Recent comments

  • Chris
    February 23, 2013 - 19:21

    I agree 100% with Frank .....but I wish,all the best to hope and when this has calmed down ..I hope the Family fight for what should have been right and ignorantly ignored,by the search...and there was no life raft it was the boat they seen....The Families have every person in Nova Scotia on their side please fight ......Loves and Prayers

  • cathy biseau
    February 23, 2013 - 09:29

    this is so sad my heart and prayers go out to the family's of these young men i pray they find there boys safe and bring them home, it's sad that the search was called off at such a short time it's almost like they didn't matter, where is our army navy coast guard rcmp if there were an animal in the water that had to be saved they would have been there or some distress in another country , they all suck it's heartbreaking how do you turn you'r back on these boys and walk away i know what it's to loose you'r child to the sea and never get him back, that big hole in your heart never heals may god be with you all i will keep you all in my prayers please don't give up hope,,,,,,

  • Marion
    February 22, 2013 - 15:29

    I know some of the men who were on that boat, and I am praying that they are found, and safe. And may peace be brought to their families.

  • sam
    February 22, 2013 - 12:58

    i am sorry for the families loss, but safely that boat was not able to be searched, was unstable, and weather conditions were attrocious.....diving on a overturned boat in the north atlantic in feb is extreme at best, but to do in in hurricane force winds that lasted for days, still gale force winds out there is a sad

  • amanda
    February 22, 2013 - 10:27

    Pisses me off that they waited so long to go search the boat..Well they were searching for a liferaft they should have already looked in that boat..We owe them boys that much..A great big shout out and thanks to all that went and looked.. You will always be remembered Katlin Cole Tyson Joel and billy jack..I hope we can make a special day to honor our Fishermen

  • Bonita
    February 22, 2013 - 09:27

    This is just devastating.The search was stopped too suddenly..Only when the famlies pleaed to search the boat did anything happen.& now it seems all hope of recovery is lost.Lives my have been saved if so much of time had not been wasted.More should have been done to help- this is shameful.My heart breaks for these young men & their families.

  • Stephanie
    February 22, 2013 - 04:32

    I can not believe the length of time it has taken for these steps to have been made. This should have been attempted days ago. Praying for the families.

  • Stephanie Smith
    February 22, 2013 - 02:16

    This would not have happened if our Canadian Coast Guard had the resources it should! Where were the coast guard's choppers???? Canada has the slowest response times in the WORLD and that is a fact! I Instead of making more cuts to the coast guard, the federal government should put more money into it! My husband is an offshore fisherman and fishes all year round 2 weeks at a time. I can't imagine the feeling of loss and grieve these poor soul's families are going through. I prey that the government steps up and puts more money into what needs it for us maritimers! God bless The Miss Ally's crew and families!

    • Hugs, Steph
      February 23, 2013 - 18:03

      To you Stephanie, and to all affected who weep and mourn. Courage to all the families, neighbours and children, descendants of these five heroes. With love, z & m

  • confused
    February 22, 2013 - 00:39

    I just can,t get over the fact that the rescue plane found the boat capsized and seen a raft,yet left it and kept searching,I thought thats what they were searching for and at that time they had lots of hope,but they just left it and went elsewhere,WHY,they found what they were searching for,why go elsewhere,if those men were where their family thought and heard a plane going over ,happy saying there they are ,they the help just leaves,and they think oh they,ll be right back,1 thing,they should have NEVER left the sight of the capsized boat,so sad ,my heart is breaking for all these familys.

  • tanya
    February 21, 2013 - 23:20

    I think they did wait to long...:'(

  • katherine archibald
    February 21, 2013 - 23:19

    My heart goes out to all the familys and love one s.P arents should never loose a child before them .I have lost one son and today it is still hard ,to cope with ....I have been praying for thier safe return , . God help you through this as it is a hard row to come through , God bless each and every one ..

  • From Yarmotuh
    February 21, 2013 - 23:12

    There is something wrong with the story ..

  • Susan D. Cann
    February 21, 2013 - 23:00

    Heaven only takes the very is so sad that we have to mourn our children at such a young age in such a tragic way....Jesus send the comfortor....and hold tight to all these family members and loved ones....give them peace to know the young men are in YOUR presence and are indeed, safe. Be strong loved ones, turn to God right now for strength and comfort, to each other for support and encouragement, do not let your hearts become too angry as we do not know WHY, but we do know who IS in control ..... and whose hand calms the seas. susan d. cann

  • Frank
    February 21, 2013 - 22:54

    Common sense tells us the overturned boat would not float forever with the engine and other heavy parts attached to the boat. If that boat has sunk to the bottom there will be many of angry people and family's that will never get closure.... The rescue effort should have screwed metal eye bolts into the floating hull and tied airbags and /or fishing balloons to the hull or use cameras to view inside of the hull until they could search it properly.. Why the hell did they wait so long to decide to go back to check it? and why did they decide to do this after the family's organized there own search and hired private divers??.. Probably because they didn't want to look bad for doing nothing when they had the chance.. This pisses me off so much that they did not go out there on the days it was the calmest and search for the raft and search that hull!

  • cory
    February 21, 2013 - 22:37

    something not rigt about that

  • Marie Currie
    February 21, 2013 - 22:14

    Oh this is so sad ...sending prayers to all !!

  • barbara peterson hiltz
    February 21, 2013 - 22:03


  • Judy Coulton
    February 21, 2013 - 21:53

    I am crushed......they waited to long .

    • Kelly
      February 21, 2013 - 22:02

      I agree, the families shouldn't have been put through having to fight to have the boat checked. It should have been done, a lot of time was wasted