Boat collision in Dildo injures three

Melissa Jenkins
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This "leisure craft" was on the receiving end of a collision with a speedboat Aug 5.

An unfortunate and rare mishap that took place in the water just outside Dildo Harbour Aug. 5 is still generating buzz around the community, with some calling it a “tragic” accident.

Policy say a speedboat that was under 20-feet long and a 35-foot “leisure craft” collided just outside Dildo Harbour at about 6 a.m.

The three occupants of the speedboat were initially taken by ambulance to the Newhook Medical Centre in Whitbourne, but were later transferred to the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s due to the severity of their injuries.

All three — age 14, 16 and 71 — sustained undisclosed injuries, while the two occupants of the larger vessel were unharmed, authorities say.

There are some conflicting reports regarding the incident, with the Canadian Coast Guard reporting the three injured were thrown from the speedboat into the ocean. However, a news release issued by the RCMP makes no mention of this fact, and several area boaters say the victims appeared to be dry when they were brought to the local wharf following the collision.

The chairperson of the Dildo Harbour Authority, Norman Hornum, said the operators of both boats were experienced seamen.

He also noted the operator of the speedboat did not see the other vessel coming.

“There was a big white boat coming at him, but he just didn’t see it," Hornum told The Compass.

Dildo resident David Pretty was on shore when the boats were brought in.

“The larger boat was on its way in when the speedboat was headed out,” he explained. “The larger boat slowed down as it seen the other approaching. We do that on the water … go to other boats and see where the fish are biting. He must have figured that’s what he was doing.”

That’s when tragedy hit and the speedboat struck the bow of the 35-footer on its starboard side, leaving an indent and some cracks in the hull. Locals said the speedboat, which was removed from the scene on Tuesday, only had a hairline crack in the bow.

The residents of Dildo were concerned about their injured neighbours but stated the area was just as safe as it was before.

“It was a freak accident,” one of many men standing on the wharf said today (Aug. 6). “It’s been a long time since boats collided in these parts.”

“It’s not common for stuff like this to happen,” added Pretty, a Coast Guard employee and fisherman.

Local residents confirmed the speedboat's operator is a resident of Dildo and the two passengers were his grandsons who were visiting from British Columbia.

Organizations: Canadian Coast Guard, Newhook Medical Centre, Health Scienc RCMP Dildo Harbour Authority

Geographic location: Whitbourne, British Columbia

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