North shore town grieving following fisherman’s death

Cory Hurley
Published on June 28, 2014
Members of the Canadian Coast Guard Cape Fox tow the overturned fishing boat to shore in Lark Harbour Thursday evening.
Star photo by Diane Crocker

The loss of a fisherman, and by reports an outstanding community person, has left the people of Gillams grieving.

Mayor Joy Burt said the town was still in a state of shock the day after one of its own died after a boat capsized while four fishermen were earning their living crab fishing.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ officers were conducting a routine patrol in that area when they came upon an overturned boat with people in the water. Three other men — including the deceased’s brother — were rescued Thursday.

“For us, for these men to have this very emotional and physical tragedy to have to endure, the town was completely in shock,” Burt said.

The man who died was a father, a step-father and a grandfather. He was a popular musician and gave back to his community through benefits and concerts, said the mayor.

“It is affecting pretty well everybody in the community,” Burt said. “If you weren’t related to them, you knew them very well because they were so involved in the community.”

The town’s website had a message of condolence Friday.

“Tragedy like this hits us so hard to the point of unbelief and leaving us with the question of ‘why’ ... to the two surviving Gillams residents from this boat tragedy we would like to offer many prayers as you face the days ahead,” the message stated.

Burt said she, and the rest of the town’s representatives, want the family to know that anything they need, they want to be there for them.

Police did not release the name of the deceased.

Preliminary information from the investigation says the boat overturned during attempts to free a crab pot from the ocean floor.

A full investigation into the cause is expected.