UPDATE: Crew rescued from ship aground off Rose Blanche

Brodie Thomas
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Wilfred and Wanda Parsons are used to people dropping in for tea or coffee. However Saturday was the first time the Rose Blanche residents had those people literally drop from the sky.

A Cormorant Search and Rescue helicopter landed in their backyard around 3:30 Saturday afternoon, and a technician knocked on their door, asking if they could keep a dozen men out of the cold for a little while.

The Search and Rescue technicians decided to take the twenty-three crew members off the John I in two shifts before transporting them all to the Coast Guard station in Burgeo.

Related story:

Ship aground off Rose Blanche elicits environmental response

The Parsons had the pleasure of hosting the first half to be rescued for about 45 minutes.

“The guy asked if they could come in for a little bit while they went back for the other crew,” said Wilfred.

Wanda said the men were mostly quiet and only one spoke broken English. He seemed to suggest they were from Syria. The ship had been bound for Montreal when they ran into trouble.

The men told Wanda they had been afraid since the previous night, and when they evacuated the ship there was water in the engine room. The ship had been drifting dangerously close to shoals just outside Rose Blanche, and it now seems to be aground.

While Wanda served the men tea, coffee and pop, her neighbor Bernice Hatcher stopped in to offer some fresh cinnamon rolls.

One of the men asked Hatcher for the recipe.

Before long the helicopter landed again in the Parsons’ backyard, and the guests climbed back aboard, with dozens of citizens watching the excitement from the sidelines.

People in the community are concerned about what will happen with the ship. It is now aground just a kilometer or less from the community’s iconic granite lighthouse, which was built in the 1870s to warn mariners about the dangerous shoals off the coast.

 

Previous update:

A Cormorant from 103 Squadron in Gander  rescued 23 crew members from the John I, which is anchored but without power off Rose Blanche.

About half the crew was brought ashore and invited into a local home for tea, coffee and sweets while the other half of the crew was retrieved from the ship.

The Cormorant helicopter then left with the entire crew. Locals were not sure exactly where the helicopter was headed.

One crew member said the sailors were from Syria. They were on their way to Montreal from Africa.

The ship is just meters from a large shoal, according to residents, and they are concerned about what an impending storm could do to the vessel.

 

Previous story:

Local resident Mary Hardy posted this photo on her facebook page. She and her husband have been listening to the crew speaking with the coast guard via VHF radio.

Hardy said the ship had to drop anchor, and is dangerously close to shoals.

A coast guard ship, The Earl Grey, is also nearby.

Check back for updates as they become available...

 

Geographic location: Rose Blanche

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Recent comments

  • L ROLLINSON .................former parsons
    March 17, 2014 - 02:04

    i have family from rose blance both on my farhers and grandmother family i was just a teenager the last time i was at Rose Blanche . and would love to go back .i am sure the people threated them well typical of newfoundlandersd

  • Karen M. Hatcher
    March 16, 2014 - 11:29

    My husband's family originated from Rose Blanche... the mention of Bernice Hatcher made me wonder if he is related to my husband (Grandson of John Hatcher) He survived the sinking of the Caribou

  • Harold
    March 16, 2014 - 11:13

    only in Newfoundland.. a helicopter drops down in your back yard with 12 strangers on board and the pilot asks, if it's ok if they stay here for a bit? the response.. sure, I'll put the kettle on and then a neighbour shows up with muffins.. you gotta love Newfoundlanders and their hospitality.

  • just a comment
    March 16, 2014 - 10:40

    What a great story. I love Newfoundland!

  • neeko
    March 16, 2014 - 00:21

    So what exactly is the ship transporting? Half a story here.

    • saelcove
      March 16, 2014 - 10:18

      It,s top secret

  • Tom Voutier
    March 15, 2014 - 21:20

    Thank God all the men was safe And had great place keep to keep warm and dry God bless to everyone

  • Tom Voutier
    March 15, 2014 - 21:18

    Thank God all the men was safe And had great place keep to keep warm and dry God bless to everyone

  • Tom Voutier
    March 15, 2014 - 21:15

    Thank God all the men was safe And had great place keep to keep warm and dry God bless to everyone

  • Deon
    March 15, 2014 - 16:43

    CBC is saying she went aground