INGONISH — Late Monday afternoon, RCMP divers were checking on something the side-scan sonar identified in Ingonish harbour as the search for a Glace Bay teenager presumed drowned continued.
"They've hit on something with the sonar," said RCMP Const. Brad Anderson.
Anderson said to his knowledge it was the first hit through the specialized equipment since the search resumed at about 12:30 p.m.
"I know the diver has been down to examine what that is. I haven't been told what it is yet."
Anderson said another kind of sonar equipment might be brought in today. Searchers would plot any objects they see with the side-scan sonar then actually drop this second sonar right to the harbour bottom. It can identify objects as small as three centimetres in diameter.
He said it doesn’t cover as big an area as the side-scan sonar.
“What they'd do is drop it down. It would direct a diver right to an object they’d see.”
RCMP received a call of an overturned boat at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
Five people ages 14-18 were in a small rowboat when it took on water and overturned about a kilometre from shore. Four of the teens made it to shore. The fifth youth — identified as Gregory Hibbs of Glace Bay — was last seen by his friends in the water.
A massive search Sunday included 25 boats, coast guard, a ground search team from Cheticamp and a Cormorant helicopter.
"The surface search and the shore search were unsuccessful Sunday, so now its presumed he has drowned and it's up to the divers," Anderson said.
He said one of the other teens who made it to shore indicated where the accident occurred.
In the meantime, family and friends are eagerly waiting for news, he added.
He said one of the parents told him all of the teens who were on the boat are together in Glace Bay.
“They are staying together through this to support one another and waiting to hear news on their friend.”
Hibbs attended the Southside Learning Centre in Sydney. Principal Danielle AuCoin described him as "a good kid."
“This year being a Southside, he had a great year. He was really successful. He got along with all of the kids. He tended to be the one who set the example. It was a small group of students — 24. He got along with all the boys and girls,” she said.
“It’s a huge loss.”
AuCoin said she was talking to Hibbs’ grandmother Monday.
“I think we’re all kind of in shock and don’t believe it really. I contacted the staff as well to make sure that they knew. We all feel the same: he had come so far in just one year and was excited about going back to Oceanview Education Centre next year. He was starting with a clean slate and was looking forward to that. He was definitely on the right path.”
She said as well as the staff, it is going to be upsetting to the students.
“We were all close. I’m wondering how they are doing as well.”