The body of a fisherman was found during a Pre-Orientation trip at the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island in New Brunswick, Canada. The victim, a middle-aged male who remains unidentified, was found near Three Islands Harbor, an intertidal region located on neighboring Hay Island in the Bay of Fundy.
The case remains under investigation by Constable Mitch King of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and a formal report is scheduled for release this Friday. It is unclear whether details from this report will be made available to the Bowdoin community.
According to Bowdoin Scientific Station director Damon Gannon, the victim was presumed to be a periwinkle harvester from Newfoundland who often worked near the intertidal zones by Kent Island.
Gannon recalled seeing the man the previous evening going out to work in his small-motored fishing boat.
"There was nothing unusual there," said Gannon. "It was breezy that night, around 15 to 20 knots, but nothing uncommon for the Bay of Fundy, where weather tends to be extreme."
The Kent Island Pre-Orientation group, consisting of nine first-year students and three upperclass leaders, arrived to the island late on Wednesday, August 26. The group encountered the body the following morning around 11 a.m. while on a short tide pool exploration hike.
Several students noticed a fishing skiff washed up ashore on the beach at Hay Island before seeing the body. Trip leader Olivia Orr '12 noted that the group had seen the mass of what was eventually found to be the victim, but was unsure as to what exactly it was.
The group was accompanied by Gannon, who, after investigating the scene, immediately alerted Scientific Station caretaker Russell Ingalls of the incident. Ingalls then contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as well as New Brunswick Natural Resource Officers, who were dispatched to the site within the hour.
At this time, the students in the Pre-Orientation group were ushered away from the immediate area of the incident, while Gannon remained with the victim.
Orr, along with co-leaders Charlie Berdahl '11 and Katy Shaw '11 aided Gannon with finding radios and medical kits.
"The three trip leaders were outstanding in the way they handled the initial situation," said Gannon. "Additionally, the professionalism and speed with which our caretaker Russell Ingalls responded with dispatching the authorities as quickly as he did was quite impressive."
The authorities arrived to the scene in the early afternoon and subsequently took control of the situation.
In the following days, the Pre-Orientation group continued with various activities on and around the island.
"For the most part, we didn't really discuss [what happened on Thursday morning] for the rest of the Pre-O," said Orr. "We focused on getting to know each other and having fun. It ended up being a good trip."
Upon their arrival back to campus, members of the Pre-O group, along with Gannon, several deans and Bowdoin Outing Club director Mike Woodruff convened for a debriefing session led by Director of Counseling Services Bernie Hershberger.
The Outing Club commented on the situation, noting its nature as an isolated incident.
"It is hard to really prepare for something like this," said Pre-Orientation coordinator Ben Roberts-Pierel '10. "But the situation was handled well by all who were involved."