A Prince Rupert fisherman has died after suffering an apparent heart attack aboard the Western Commander.
Clyde Dudoward, 70, was a father, grandfather, and well known in the Prince Rupert fishing community.
Dudoward and three other crew were aboard the urchin packer when they issued a mayday call at 9:34 a.m. yesterday near Triple Island, in the northern Hecate Strait. They said the boat was taking on water.
Answering the mayday call were three Coast Guard vessels — CCGS Tanu, CCGS Captain Goddard and CCGS Cape Dauphin — and three crew members from the Prince Rupert-based Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue 64.
“The boat was listing hard to starboard when they arrived on scene,” said Jason van der Valk, director of operations for the RCM-SAR.
Van der Valk said a Coast Guard rescue specialist and some of the crew helped stabilize Dudoward, who was taken to a waiting ambulance on the RCM-SAR vessel and then to Prince Rupert Regional Hospital. Doctors were unable to save him.
The Coast Guard stayed on scene and brought the remaining crew off the Western Commander and onto their vessel.
“All attempts to save that vessel didn’t happen,” said van der Valk, and the 75-year-old wooden fishing boat has now sunk.
The Coast Guard is monitoring the scene for environmental pollution from the sunken boat.
Environment Canada issued a gale warning for the north Hecate Strait around noon yesterday, expecting southeast winds of 25 to 35 knots and seas of two to three metres.