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'It's hard on everybody:' Port Hood, N.S. mourns fishermen's deaths

Boat capsized 100 metres off shore
By Alex Cooke
| www.cos-mag.com
fishing boats
Two Cape Breton, N.S. fishermen dead after boat capsized. REUTERS/Paul Darrow

PORT HOOD, N.S. (CP) — As officials continue to investigate a fishing accident that left two men dead in Cape Breton, the small community of Port Hood is left trying to make sense of the tragedy.

Hugh Watts, 39, and Glen MacDonald, 58, died Saturday after their fishing boat capsized off the coast of nearby Colindale less than 100 metres from the shore.

Investigators say the two died as a result, though they would not confirm the cause of death.

Watts' 18-year-old stepson was on board as well, but managed to make it safely to shore.

Jordan MacDougall, president of the Inverness South Fishermen's Association, said in an interview Sunday that their deaths delivered a great blow to the small community.

``In the Maritimes, when something like this happens, it impacts all fishers and their families,'' he said. ``They're just waking up today to the reality that they're gone.''

MacDougall knew the men through the closely knit local fishing community. Watts was a member of the fishermen's association, which consists of captains in the Inverness County region.

MacDonald was Watts' first mate, MacDougall said, adding that both men had been in the fishing industry for a long time.

The Port Hood Volunteer Fire Department were on scene Saturday after news broke of the men's capsized boat.

Chief Donald Beaton said Watts was a member of the volunteer fire department, describing him as a ``remarkable fireman,'' while he knew MacDonald as a friendly face around the community.

``They were two great guys,'' he said. ``It's just bad. It's hard on everybody.''

Beaton said Watts had six children.

Since it was a workplace incident, the RCMP have handed the investigation to the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

Department spokesperson Chrissy Matheson said Sunday that more details should be available early next week.

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