By Greg Bennett
The Coast Guard
As the first memorial services were being planned for five Shelburne County fishermen lost in a tragic fishing accident, thoughts about a larger community service were being considered.
The first memorial service was set for this Saturday in Woods Harbour for one of the lost fishermen, with others to follow in the coming days.
“There will be some very difficult, emotional days ahead,” said Phil Williams, the pastor of the Woods Harbour United Baptist Church. “The whole community feels that.”
The Miss Ally and its crew of five young men ran into trouble late Sunday evening, Feb. 17 about 120 kilometres southeast of Liverpool as it was returning from a halibut fishing trip. Caught in a huge storm, the last signal from the boat was from an emergency locator beacon. The capsized hull of the boat was located the following day. Despite days of searching none of men were found.
Pastor Williams says that while people are going back to work and that life is continuing, that it is a “new normal” for a community that may never be the same in the wake of the tragedy.
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“There is a deep sense of loss and we have heavy hearts …that will not go away any time soon,” he said.
He says some have expressed a need for a larger community service, but Williams says it may be later in the spring before something is considered.
“Right now it is the families’ intentions to honour the lives of the lost individually,” said Williams.
The pastor noted his heartfelt gratitude for the many expressions of sympathy and offers of support from across Canada and beyond to the families and affected communities.
“We thank them for their kindness,” he said, noting that letters of support have come from as far away as Portugal.
Across Shelburne County, flags in many areas remained at half mast this week.