All of a sudden we were in the water, (it all happened in less than 15 seconds). I seemed to be thrown the farthest away and I remember going down a couple of times and when I came up I was spitting out water. I remember saying "Please God, don't let me die yet," and he answered my prayer. The next thing I remember is Jill swimming for the life ring and bringing it back to me and I was sure glad to have that to hang onto. Jill and I than made it to the boat where the others were.

When we hit the water, Don took command and found out where everyone was. Harvey and Wendy were at the back of the boat and Marlene swam around to where the others were. The four females were pushed up on the hull of the boat once the engine stopped and the propeller stopped turning. We hung onto the keel, even though we were on the hull, water was washing around us at all times. The men tried to free the dingy, because it was tied to two small booms and was almost fully submerged in water. After a while with some kicking the arm broke clear and they were able to turn the dingy over. Once the dingy was free from the boat, the boat started to sink. We were told to get off the bottom of the boat and hang on to the dingy. Don was able to get into the dingy and when he did, he pulled all five of us in. (God gave him the strength to do this) I went in first than Wendy, Marlene, Jill and than Harvey. Harvey wanted to stay in the water but Don made him get in the dingy.

The dingy was recently added to the boat and it was the second trip out with the dingy. The dingy was bought from Aquamarine, it was an 8'x8" rubber inflatable raft, which was only supposed to hold 3 adults and 1 child. Even though we were in the raft, we were submerged in water at all times because we were overloaded.

In the meantime, we didn't have any idea of the events happening onshore. When our Mayday was heard by the Canadian Coast Guard, they immediately relayed it over channel 16 (every boater is on this station as it is used for emergencies). Our rescue, believe it or not, came from the Grand Banks of NL, Don's brother Ed Morgan, Captain of the Michael Mariner III who was on watch at the time 90 miles of St. John's, he immediately called CG and told him that he was the brother of the owner of the capsized boat. Ed was able to give them a description of the boat and the owner's info, but he was unable to tell them how many were onboard. He gave them the phone number of Don's brother, Wayne Morgan, who was onshore. In the meantime approximately 270 miles off St. John's in the 3NO area another fisherman, Alex Day, who just happened to be a friend of ours also heard the Mayday. He instantly called Harold Butler of Brigus (another friend) and told him to turn on his VHF radio because Don and Joyce's boat just rolled and they are in the water. Once Alex relayed the message on the satellite phone the phone went dead. Harold then called his brother, Ira Butler, who raced and called to his son Carl who lives next door. They rushed to their small 22' pleasure craft, the Dylan B. Believe it or not Ira and Carl have been our lifelong friends! They proceeded out to search for us. Back in Port de Grave, Wayne received a call from the CG asking him about the Joyce's Dream, and informing him that the boat had capsized. Wayne retrieved his binoculars from his house and did a visual search and spotted us right away. He informed CG that he had a visual, and where to steam - but they kept going the wrong way. Imagine the frustration they felt, seeing us and unable to do anything about it. Fortunately, Wayne saw Ira coming out of Cupid's and contacted him via cellphone and told him to turn and go in a different direction. Once Ira and Carl made that turn they immediately seen us and the rescue took place!

While in the dingy some of us watched the Fast Craft Rescue come out of Long Pond and the next thing we knew it was going North of us. We watched other boats coming, but all going away from us - including the Bell Island ferries, a sailboat and other vessels. Imagine watching a movie where there is a shipwreck and the people are in a raft and boats are coming and going and missing you. Well, that was what it was like. It was a very scary feeling. Wendy asked where they were going, but Don tried to remain calm and keep everyone calm. He said "That's the way CG works, they go in a straight line back and forth," and that "they heard the mayday and will be here soon." Don's level head kept everyone calm and no one panicked!

After what seem like an eternity, Don seen a small boat coming and waved the paddle. He said it was Ira Butler. What a sight for six soaken wet individuals. 52 minutes later at 6:22 PM in 1.3 degree waters Ira and Carl pulled up along side of us and started taking us onboard. First Jill, than Wendy, Marlene, next me, than Harvey and Don. We were so glad to be rescued, all of us shivered uncontrollably, and Jill and I started throwing up. Don and Harvey were on the back of the boat also throwing salt water out.

We were approximately 5 miles from Brigus, and were being taken to the nearest place for a rescue. Several minutes later when we were approximately 2 miles from Brigus, the FRC came up on us and immediately dispatched two technicians to hand out blankets, water and provide medical attention. They were excellent, trying to keep us warm and alert. There wasn't enough blankets for everyone but Max and Sandra (MV Sugar) arrived on the scene and threw coats over to us for extra warmth and bottled water for whoever needed it.

Even though we were onboard the Dylan B, things became a little scary once again, imagine this 22 ft boat with 10 people onboard - some of us thought that we were going to roll this one over, but thank God we made it to shore.

When we were going into Brigus it was decided that the boat would be beached. The rescue people were concerned for Ira's boat, but needless to say Ira wasn't one bit concerned. His major concern was getting us off the boat and into the helicopter. The boat was than beached where members of the rescue team from the Cormorant helicopter came onboard and immediately checked us out and it was decided that because of my condition I would be the first to go. In the meantime Don and Harvey jumped off the boat and walked ashore and was treated by medical personnel. I was placed in a warm bag and not a body bag as some people thought, placed on a stretcher and transported to the awaiting helicopter. The others came onboard the helicopter by walking, with the exception of Jill who was also placed in a warm bag and onto a stretcher.

Once everyone was onboard we were airlifted to the Health Sciences Center. It took us 10 minutes to get there and awaiting us were three ambulances. When we got into the hospital we were all treated in a very timely manner, wet clothes removed and warming blankets placed over us to warm us up. After several hours in the hospital we were all released and returned to the comfort of our homes and anxious family members.

This, my friends, is the real story of the capsizing of Joyce's Dream. A full story of all the events of the day will follow shortly, when we get all of our thoughts together. Many people have said to us "that we were so lucky, we should buy a lottery ticket." My dear friends, my family and I won the biggest lottery prize ever awarded, the grand prize of living to see another day.

Apparently, our story not only captivated the whole province but the country. We feel the key to our survival was that not one of us panicked and that Don took full control of the situation and keept everyone calm. We have learned many lessons from this experience and all we can hope and pray is that our fellow boaters, please, please take heed and keep yourself and your loved ones safe:

Here are some tips that we want to offer and that we will certainly be following the next time we are on the water, some day soon hopefully;
1. Don't leave the dock without your personal floatation on your back, just don't leave it next to you.
2. Place a cellphone in a zip lock bag and place it on your body.
3. Tow your dingy.
4. Have a ditch bag in your dingy with emergency supplies, flares, foil blankets, etc.
5. Always have your VHF radio on channel 16 and make sure that you carry one.

Harvey, Wendy and Marlene are now back in Ontario with their families. Jill will soon be returning to Alberta. Don and myself will take it one day at a time!

Once again on behalf of the six of us THANK YOU!

And to our Guardian Angels and the Good Lord we couldn't have done it without you.


PS: Please feel free to forward to anyone that is interested in this story.
Below is an email that we received from a very dear friend of mine.


"You all were indeed in the hands of God each moment. I don't believe in luck, Joyce, but I do believe in miracles. This is one more thing that gives us all faith each and every day. Your story is the story of another miracle. You were given a confident Captain, a strong daughter, an excellent support team, and hundreds of prayers in moments. Call it coincidence if you wish, but you all have more to do here before you are called away. "

Smile as often as you can and as my late mother used to say "KEEP LOOKING UP!"
" />


new  |  most views  |  most likes

load more