Crew rescued from ship aground off Rose Blanche

Brodie Thomas
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Wilfred and Wanda Parsons are used to people dropping in for tea or coffee, but Saturday was the first time the Rose Blanche residents had those people literally drop from the sky.

Crew members from the cargo ship MV John I disembark from a Royal Canadian Air Force Cormorant search and rescue helicopter Saturday in Rose Blanche.

A Cormorant search and rescue helicopter landed in their backyard around 3:30 Saturday afternoon, and a technician knocked on their door, asking if they could keep a dozen men out of the cold for a little while.

The search and rescue technicians decided to take the 23 crew members off the John I in two shifts before transporting them all to the Canadian Coast Guard station in Burgeo.

The Parsons had the pleasure of hosting the first half to be rescued for about 45 minutes.

“The guy asked if they could come in for a little bit while they went back for the other crew,” said Wilfred.

Wanda said the men were mostly quiet and only one spoke broken English. He seemed to suggest they were from Syria. The ship had been bound for Montreal when it ran into trouble.

The men told Wanda they had been afraid since the previous night, and when they evacuated the ship there was water in the engine room. The ship had been drifting dangerously close to shoals just outside Rose Blanche, and it now seems to be aground.

While Wanda served the men tea, coffee and pop, her neighbour, Bernice Hatcher, stopped in to offer some fresh cinnamon rolls.

One of the men asked Hatcher for the recipe.

Before long the helicopter landed again in the Parsons’ backyard, and the guests climbed back aboard, with dozens of residents watching the excitement from the sidelines.

People in the community are concerned about what will happen with the ship. It is now aground just a kilometre or less from the community’s iconic granite lighthouse, which was built in the 1870s to warn mariners about the dangerous shoals off the coast.

 

The Gulf News

Organizations: Canadian Coast Guard, Gulf News

Geographic location: Rose Blanche, Syria, Montreal

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