It sounded like a plane crash, a shuddering boom and scraping of metal as the Fisherman’s Provider II rammed up on Frying Pan Shoal, a lurking hunk of rock in the Atlantic Ocean, about two kilometres off Canso, N.S. The boat had pulled away from the wharf of the historic fishing village just a few hours before, geared up for a four- or five-day trip of catching halibut.
Now she was in trouble. Stuck fast, while her crew — Roy Campbell, Anthony Cooke and Brian Sinclair —were panicking. The three men had been in their bunks and were jolted awake upon impact. A quick survey of the area below-deck suggested the fish hold — where the fresh catch gets stored on ice —might have been breached. The men wrestled into their survival suits, deploying the life raft, calling 911 and hollering for their captain, Roger Lynn Stoddard, to forget about the damn boat, put his suit on, get in the raft and come with them.