The body of a crew member who was missing after a 12-metre boat sank off Devils Island at the mouth of Halifax Harbour early Tuesday was found by navy divers several hours later.
Divers found the man’s body inside Captain Jim, the sunken vessel, Joint Task Force Atlantic said on Twitter at about 11:30 a.m.
The Captain Jim crew was returning to Eastern Passage after conducting routine commercial passenger operations when the captain sent out a distress call at about 2:15 a.m., said RMI Marine, the vessel’s owner, in a news release.
The boat had lost power and was taking on water, said Maj. Amber Bineau of Joint Task Force Atlantic.
RMI said the senior captain, deckhand and a passenger signalled they were preparing to abandon the boat about 20 minutes later.
“Unfortunately, the vessel went down so quick that only the captain and passenger made it to the deployed lifeboat,” RMI said.
A Halifax pilot boat rescued the two people, who were wearing flotation devices but not survival suits. They received medical attention and were released in good condition.
A military Hercules airplane and Cormorant helicopter, along with three coast guard vessels, searched the area near Eastern Passage on Tuesday morning.
The Hercules dropped flares in the morning for “visual capability,” said Bineau.
The Canadian Forces fleet diving unit sent personnel to the scene soon after the initial call came in but left with plans to return during daylight.
Multiple Facebook accounts identified the deceased crew member as Max Hinch, a young Cole Harbour man who had a four-year-old son.
“Thank you for being my biggest supporter and pushing me to do my best,” Hinch’s fiancee wrote in a Facebook post. “Thank you for choosing us and being the best father you possibly could,”
Hinch started working with RMI last July, according to his profile.
Marine search underway for missing person after 40 ft vessel sunk near Devils Island in Halifax Harbour— JTFA | FOIA (@JTFA_FOIA) January 29, 2019
Recherche maritime en cours ce matin pour retrouver une personne disparue après le naufrage d'un navire de 40 pieds près de Devils Island, dans le port de Halifax pic.twitter.com/WD0q9SrI9o
RMI’s website says the business, with over 30 years’ experience, is based in Eastern Passage and “is a progressive marine contractor specializing in diving and marine port services.”
The Transportation Safety Board deployed a team of investigators to Eastern Passage,.
“ The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.,” the agency said in a release.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will be in charge of any salvage operations.
RCMP are assisting with the investigation.
With files from The Canadian Press