Survivors of a yacht that was crippled by heavy seas off Nova Scotia Tuesday are claiming refugee status and the incident, which claimed one life and left three people missing, is being treated as a possible attempt to smuggle Eastern Europeans into Canada.
“There is an enormous and unnecessary risk involved with the act of human smuggling,” said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews in a statement. “Our government’s message is clear to those contemplating a human smuggling operation – don’t do it.”
The 10-metre vessel, which Toews identified as the SV Tabasco 2, was carrying nine people when it developed mechanical difficulties amid heavy seas about 150 kilometres off Cape Sable Island.
A military Cormorant rescue helicopter picked up three people, one of whom died on the way to hospital, said Capt. John Pulchny of CFB Greenwood, N.S. A tanker, the FSL Hamburg, picked up three more passengers and was taking them to Saint John, N.B.
Three others remain missing and the search was continuing in stormy weather.
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