INGONISH — RCMP say a meeting is being held with searchers to determine whether or not to continue the underwater search for the Glace Bay teen who drowned following a boating accident in Ingonish harbour Saturday.
© Steve Wadden - Cape Breton Post
RCMP divers and a Department of Fisheries boat equipped with side-sonar comb Ingonish harbour on Monday.
"I will be discussing that with the underwater recovery team," said Const. Brad Anderson.
Anderson said the search included the path the rowboat is believed to have taken and then the search area was expanded.
"If they've scanned the entire harbour and haven't found anything positive, then I don't know if there is any point of continuing. "
However, he said, that doesn't mean the search will end.
"Even if it's decided the underwater recovery team will stop their search that doesn't mean the search would be over with, it just means we'd move on to a different stage of the search.
"Possibly somehow he got swept out of the harbour. If that's the case we'll have to estimate what our next best option is."
Anderson said their team leader estimates in another three or four days — as long as the body isn't tangled up with anything — it should rise to the surface as a result of gases building up in it.
"If that is the case then we'd conduct a shoreline search.”
Anderson said the direction of the winds would give them a side of the harbor to focus their search.
"We would take the boat and examine that side of the harbour or maybe bring back our helicopter which would allow us a broader search.”
RCMP received a call of an overturned boat in Ingonish harbour at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
Five people ages 14-18 were in the 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.
On Sunday a massive search included the surface of the water and shore. Since Monday RCMP divers and members of the Department of Fishers and Oceans have been involved in a recovery operation to locate the body of the teen.
He said the father of the deceased teen is in the area.
“He is very nearby and we are speaking with him regularly.”
RCMP say the area was very dark and the teens were facing rough waves. The boat took on water and capsized. Anderson said a girl who was in the boat is a strong swimmer.
"She helped one of the boys to shore. Without her he might not of made it."