NEWS

Headcount confusion followed BC Ferries sinking, tapes confirm

03/25/2013 07:21 EDT | Updated 05/25/2013 05:12 EDT
New evidence released at the Queen of the North trial in Vancouver has revealed it took officials five hours to realize two people were missing after the ship sank.

Karl Lilgert, the officer in charge of the bridge that night, is on trial for criminal negligence in the deaths of two passengers, Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette, whose bodies were never found. They are presumed to have gone down with the ship.

The audio recordings played in court track the conversations between the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria and a community organizer in the community of Hartley Bay as the situation slowly unravels in the early morning of March 22, 2006.

In the first conversation at about 5 a.m. PT between Mona Danes in Hartley Bay and Troy Haddock at the Joint Rescue Communication Centre, both are optimistic.

After Danes and Haddock add up the lists of passengers in Hartley Bay and on the coast guard vessel Sir Wilfred Laurier, they account for 102 passengers. Only 101 were supposed to be on the Queen of the North.

Despite the confusion over the extra person, all seems well, everyone breathes a sigh of relief and the local fishermen call off their search.

Then, as the hours pass problems emerge. It turns out some names have been noted twice, and there is confusion about who was airlifted out of Hartley Bay for medical care.

As the hours pass, the head count goes falls to 101, then 100 and then 99. Finally, almost five hours after the ship sank, it becomes evident two people are missing.

The audio recordings were played in court on Wednesday and released to the media on Monday.

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