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Author, historian Patrick O'Flaherty confirmed as missing swimmer in Barbour's Pond


The Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador, of which Patrick O'Flaherty was a lifetime member, confirmed Friday that O’Flaherty was the swimmer who went missing in Barbour's Pond near Keels on the Bonavista Peninsula Wednesday, Aug. 16. 

Bonavista RCMP were dispatched to Barbour's Pond at approximately 4:40 p.m. on Aug. 16.

Four adults had been swimming in the pond, and three were returning to shore when one of the swimmers, a 78- year old man, went under water.

RCMP and Ground Search and Rescue volunteers searched the area that evening, and again the next morning, this time joined by the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team.

O’Flaherty, 78, is a major presence on the provincial literary scene. Born in Long Beach, Conception Bay in 1939, he went on to earned bachelor and masters degrees at Memorial University and a Ph.D from University College London.

He began his teaching career at the University of Manitoba before returning to MUN’s department of English in 1965 where he went on to serve as department head from 1982-87. He retired in 1995 and holds the position of professor emeritus.

Over his writing career, O’Flaherty has published more than a dozen books, from literary criticism to literary history, history, memoir and fiction.

In 2007 he became a Member of the Order of Canada. 

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