A CALIFORNIA-MADE boat the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service had planned to buy despite warnings from local boat builders flipped on its third day of test runs Wednesday, briefly dumping eight men into Halifax Harbour.
The 8.5-metre, 500-horsepower boat overturned in perfect conditions about 150 metres from a Dartmouth coast guard pier where Adam Erland was at work.
The maritime search and rescue co-ordinator was working aboard a docked cutter at about 11 a.m. when he heard "that sound you hear when something is going wrong with a boat."
"I looked to my left and saw the boat overturned and the guys in the water."
Mr. Erland rushed to grab a life-jacket and found two other coast guard workers — Peter MacDonald and Keith Laidlaw — to help. Within minutes, they were aboard a Zodiac and alongside the eight floating men, all of whom were wearing flotation devices and other safety gear.
In addition to five firefighters, the boat was carrying was one representative of manufacturer Harbor Guard Boats, an employee of local supplier Micmac Fire and Safety of Dartmouth and one student from a Newfoundland marine institute who was doing a work placement.
As I recall, at least two people high up in the fire department had a nice excursion to California to check out the boat... maybe someone ought look at that again.