NEWS

Missing 20-year-old fisherman 'presumed drowned' off N.S.

01/13/2013 01:56 EST | Updated 03/15/2013 05:12 EDT
After a 15-hour exhaustive search, police say a lobster fisherman who fell overboard off the coast of Nova Scotia, is "missing and presumed drowned."

Michael Jeffrey Doucette, 20, from Wedgeport fell overboard the fishing vessel Row Row Saturday evening around 53 kilometres southwest of Yarmouth.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax said they received a call for help around 6:45 p.m. By that time the man had been missing for an hour.

Lt.-Cmdr. Bruno Tremblay, a spokesman for the navy in Halifax, said both a Cormorant helicopter and a Hercules aircraft were sent to the scene along with two coast guard ships.

"The Hercules used more than 100 flares to make sure the searching area was illuminated at all times," he said.

Police said another 20 to 30 local fishing boats joined the search overnight.

"Unfortunately at 9 o'clock this morning, the decision was made to stop the search for this individual since the survival model was far exceeded," said Tremblay. "It was sad, it's always a tough decision when we have to inform the family that we must stop the search."

He said the weather conditions were clear, but it appears the man was not wearing survival gear when he went overboard.

With the search teams sent home, Tremblay said the investigation into the incident is now in the hands of the RCMP.

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