Trina Pike-Reynolds says there is a part of her who will always be waiting for a call to come from Aaron Cull, a dear family friend who died in a workplace accident aboard a fishing vessel in February 2012.
“When I hear Aaron's name, look at pictures or hear about the accident through social media, I am overwhelmed with what ifs and whys,” she said in an email to The Telegram.
The 25-year-old’s death aboard the Katsheshuk II while it was en route from the Funk Island Bank to Bay Roberts is now the subject of a court case in St. John’s. Ocean Choice International Inc. (OCI) is facing multiple charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The company’s first appearance in provincial court is scheduled to take place Feb. 17.
Cull was struck by a steel door as he was exiting a shrimp holding tank on the vessel’s factory deck. He inspected the tank after another worker cleaned it.
According to Pike-Reynolds, Cull was a good friend of her husband Philip. Both were expecting a call on Feb. 10, 2012, telling them to head over to the wharf to pick him up.
“It was an absolute tragedy in my home when I received a phone call (about) his death; one of those situations you remember to the last second what you were doing then you go blank,” she said. “Devastated and shaken to the core don't come close to describing the numbness, denial, hurt, anger experienced when someone you love is taken from you.”
Cull was born in St. Anthony and lived in Stephenville, but he managed to spend a considerable amount of time with the Reynolds family, despite the fact they live in the Conception Bay North area.
“He made our home his home and we would not have it any other way,” said Pike-Reynolds. “I never thought the last time Aaron walked out of our home it would be the last time. We'd share a hug, smiles and see you soons. I physically get ill at that thought.”
He played with the couple’s children, spent time with the family at a cabin that belonged to Pike-Reynolds’ parents, played music with Philip, joined the Reynolds on a road trip to New Brunswick for a concert, and once volunteered with Pike-Reynolds at the Juno Awards.
“The longer you knew Aaron the more he was family — he was a baby brother to me. We shared milestones, life events, laughter and tears. A moment I treasure (is) when he said I was like a sister to him. How often have I prayed and wished this nightmare was a horrible dream.”
Pike-Reynolds describes Cull as a caring person who was willing to help anyone who needed it, and a pure soul.
“Images of him playing with my children, socializing with our circle of friends, tinkering in the basement are memories I hold so dear to me.”
Katsheshuk Fisheries Ltd., a joint venture of OCI and the Innu Nation through the Innu Development Limited Partnership, owns the Katsheshuk II. It had a crew complement of 22.
At the time of the accident, OCI president and CEO Martin Sullivan gave his condolences to Cull’s family.
“This incident is a tragic one,” he said in a news release, going on to note his company would co-operate fully with officials investigating the accident.