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Flares help save sinking schooner off Canada

Sorca_2012_Tall_Ships_Challenge

The crew of a sinking schooner off Canada, sent up flares at night to alert a passing cargo ship that they were in need of rescue.

Rick Welsford, Captain of the Sorca, 287 kilometres southeast  of Halifax, and his three-person crew put faith in their safety equipment after the ship took on water, reports the CBC website.

"We had the latest technology on Sorca for communicating, we had brand new life-rafts, we had all the safety equipment, the flares worked.

"Everything was working the way it's supposed to and it never crossed my mind that there was going to be a bad outcome."     

The Sorca and its crew had been on their way to Bermuda from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, where the schooner was built in 1978. But after days of heavy swells, Mr Welsford turned back.

A crew member noticed water accumulating under the floorboards, although there was no obvious cause of the leak.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax and the Canadian Coast Guard responded, but due to the distance they have to travel, were not due to arrive for hours.

One of the crew mates spotted a light in the distance, which was a cargo ship on its way to New Orleans, and set off a flare. 

"After a little while we still couldn't tell whether it was coming our way so we set a second flare off, and sure enough they lit up all their floodlights on the cargo vessel to acknowledge that they had seen us," says Mr Welsford.

The cargo ship picked up the uninjured captain and crew and a Cormorant helicopter arrived later to take them to Halifax airport.

The main image is from Wikipedia.

Jul 12, 2017