Family of missing man looks for closure

Everton McLean
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As search and rescue workers combed the water on the north side of Bell Island for a missing 39-year-old man, seven of his siblings stood perched atop the cliff, scanning the shallow water below for any sign of their missing brother.

After more than a day of keeping a look out, the family was getting frustrated.

The man went missing along with a 30-year-old friend after launching a three- to four-metre-long dory into Conception Bay about 9:45 p.m. Sunday.

Above, family members of a missing boater look over the waters at the edge of a cliff on Bell Island's north side, where the 39-year-old man's boat was found. The body of his friend, who was with him late Sunday, was found in that area Monday. Photo by Ev

As search and rescue workers combed the water on the north side of Bell Island for a missing 39-year-old man, seven of his siblings stood perched atop the cliff, scanning the shallow water below for any sign of their missing brother.

After more than a day of keeping a look out, the family was getting frustrated.

The man went missing along with a 30-year-old friend after launching a three- to four-metre-long dory into Conception Bay about 9:45 p.m. Sunday.

The younger man's body was recovered Monday, along with the flat-bottomed boat and some other items. The boat's engine was still attached and the vessel wasn't damaged.

However, by mid-afternoon Tuesday, there was still no sign of the second man.

His sister said family members have been watching the waves around the cliff since he went missing, waiting to see their brother emerge.

They're convinced he's within 100 metres of shore, near the place the boat was found.

They suspect he's caught in one of the deep crevices below the shallow water, visible from the cliff's edge.

The missing man's sister said the family has come to grips with the idea he's likely dead - now they need his body recovered and want recovery workers to take up the search to find his body under the water.

"As of now (coast guard workers) say they are out looking for the (living). But this happened Sunday night ... Obviously we know he's not alive. But I think they should have divers in around now to see if he's in around the cliff side," she said.

"It's very important," she said, of finding the body. "He's my brother and it will be more closure for the family if we do find him. We'll be always wondering where he's at."

She said the man's 12-year-old son is one of the hardest hit.

"He's not taking it very well. He's up in the window looking for his father," she said.

She said she's frustrated with the lack of information about what happened and whether there are any signs of him.

Meanwhile, family and friends of the man whose body has been recovered said they were working to make sense of the loss.

One of the man's three brothers, who flew from Ontario to be with family, said he doesn't understand how the accident happened.

He said there wasn't a lot of wind, although there was heavy fog, and his brother was an experienced boater.

"He's been around the water his whole life," he said. "That's what's frustrating, knowing he could swim ... He's been on the water since he's been 15 years old."

A friend who grew up with the man said he's frustrated by the lack of answers regarding what went wrong.

"We still haven't got any information about where (it happened) or the conditions or anything," he said.

"It makes you lose sleep trying to wait and find out exactly what happened, some sort of idea. It's hard on the head."

As of dark Tuesday, the RCMP took over the search from the coast guard, meaning the search officially became a missing person case.

The police say they're not sure what the men were doing on the water. Neither was believed to be wearing a life-jacket.

The names of the men have not been released.

emclean@thetelegram.com

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Bell Island, Conception Bay, Ontario

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