Life jacket credited for saving man’s life in fish boat tragedy

Before the Caledonian went down, two fishermen clung to the capsized vessel for hours. Only one was wearing a life vest. It saved his life. The unidentified man was the sole survivor when the 33-metre dragger sank to the bottom like a stone Saturday evening, more than six hours after capsizing in chilly waters north of Tofino. His three partners in the ship’s four-member crew — engineer Keith Standing, 48, and deckhand Doug White, 41, of Port Alberni, and 55-year-old skipper Wesley Hegglund of Duncan — died in the waters 55 kilometres west of Estevan Point, near the entrance to Nootka Sound. Notes pieced together from the recollections of the survivor tell a harrowing tale that Joint Rescue Coordination Centre marine rescue co-ordinator Colin Henthorne summarized. It was cloudy; fishermen a few dozen miles away reported two-metre swells. The Caledonian had one “bag” of fish on board. As they brought a second netful, the vessel started to list significantly, finally keeling on its side between 3 or 3:30 p.m. Read the rest here 18:51

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