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Marine transportation safety investigation M18A0303

Table of contents


Fishing vessel Kyla Anne
1.3 NM N of North Cape, Prince Edward Island

The occurrence

On at about 0500 Atlantic Daylight Time, the 11.5 m fishing vessel Kyla Anne with 3 people on board, departed the dock at Judes Point for a lobster fishing trip on the western side of North Cape, Prince Edward Island (PEI) in light winds and seas. A vessel similar to the Kyla Anne is shown in Figure 1.The crew began hauling their traps at about 0645, and by around noon the wind had picked up to 25–30 knots from the north-northeast. At 1435, the crew of the Kyla Anne had finished fishing and set course to return to Judes Point.

Figure 1. Vessel similar to the Kyla Anne (Source: TSB)
Vessel similar to the Kyla Anne (Source: TSB)

As the vessel crossed from the west side of North Cape to the east side, a large breaking wave struck broadside, shifting the cargo to starboard. This was immediately followed by 2 more large waves which capsized the vessel to starboard at about 1445.

When the vessel capsized, the master was at the wheel, deckhand 1 was in the wheelhouse, and deckhand 2 was straddling the space between the deck and the wheelhouse. The master and deckhand 2 were thrown into the water, while deckhand 1 was trapped under the overturned vessel. Deckhand 1 swam into the vessel cuddy and escaped through the forward hatch. Once he was on the surface, he grabbed a cover from a fish tub to use as flotation. Deckhand 1 hailed the other 2 crew members and heard a response from the master, but not from deckhand 2. He did not have a visual on either. The master and deckhand 1 communicated for a short while, but after about 4 minutes, deckhand 1 could no longer hear the master.

At about 1500, deckhand 1 began swimming toward shore using the buoyant tub lid as a flutterboard and reached shore at about 1620. Recognizing where he was, he walked north for about an hour until he reached a restaurant, where 911 was called.

Immediately after the 911 call, Sydney Marine Communications and Traffic Services were notified and they transmitted a Mayday relay. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Halifax initiated an extensive search and rescue effort consisting of aircraft, vessels, personnel, and other assets from 14 Wing Greenwood, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, local fish harvesters, the Tignish fire department, the PEI Ground Search and Rescue team, and the local community. Deckhand 1 was subsequently treated by paramedics, and did not require hospitalization.

The master’s body was discovered along the shore in the morning of 23 September 2018, and the body of deckhand 2 was discovered in the morning of 24 September 2018.

Personal flotation devices and an emergency position-indicating radio beacon were not carried on board at the time of the occurrence.

Media materials

Deployment notices


TSB deploys a team to Tignish, Prince Edward Island, following the capsizing of the fishing vessel Kyla Anne

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 19 September 2018 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators to Tignish, Prince Edward Island, following the capsizing of the fishing vessel Kyla Anne. The search for two missing fishermen is still underway. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Christopher Morrow

Chris Morrow has been employed as an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board since 2003, focussing mainly on fishing vessel accidents. Before joining the TSB, Mr. Morrow spent 25 years at sea, most on offshore fishing vessels and the remainder in the oil, gas, and seismic industries. He holds a Fishing Master Class 1 and Master, Intermediate Voyage certificates.

Class of investigation

This is a class 5 investigation. Class 5 investigations are limited to collecting data, which are then stored in the modal database. If TSB investigators deployed to the occurrence site, a short description of the occurrence is posted to the TSB website once the investigation has been completed. These investigations are generally completed within 90 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.