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Fishing Boat Sinkings Kill 11 off Canada

December 19, 1990

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) _ Rescuers hauled bodies from the icy North Atlantic and brought back five survivors suffering from hypothermia Tuesday after two fishing boats sank about 500 miles apart off eastern Canada.

The sinkings left 11 people dead or presumed dead. The survivors owed their lives to enclosed life rafts or in one case, a survival suit.

Eight people were dead or believed dead from the Nadine, a 100-foot dragger out of Cap-aux-Meules, chief port of Quebec’s Iles-de-la-Madeleine. The vessel took in water and sank in the Gulf of St. Lawrence about 18 miles south of its home port Monday morning.

The captain, Robert Poirier, and his brother survived and were being treated for subnormal body temperatures after spending eight hours in the water, said Iranae Bernard, fleet manager for the company that owned the dragger. The skipper was plucked from a life raft and his brother was found floating in open water in a survival suit - an insulated rubber outfit that encloses the body from head to toe, except from the eyes to the chin.

In the second sinking, the 60-foot-long Strait’s Pride from O’Donnell’s, Newfoundland, went down at 3:30 p.m. Monday, roughly 30 miles northeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Three crew survived by launching an inflatable life raft and zipping themselves in. Three didn’t make the life raft and perished in the open sea.

Planes and ships searched for survivors and bodies.

Four bodies from the Nadine were recovered and four people aboard were missing and believed dead, including Estelle Laberge, 40, a federal fisheries observer.

Bernard said some Nadine dead were wearing survival suits but may not have been experienced enough to ensure they were properly sealed against the cold.

″There’s no further sightings and we’re really not expecting to find anybody alive at this time,″ said Capt. Pat Phelan of the rescue co- ordination center in Halifax.

The Strait’s Pride’s life raft was spotted by a rescue plane, then picked up by a coast guard ship shortly after Monday midnight. The raft was tossed by 15-foot waves and 55 mph winds for about nine hours.

The bodies of the three other crew were found just before noon Tuesday, their life jackets still on.

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