Northern Spirit - June 13, 2015
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Northern Spirit Passenger, June 13, 2015
Keith White, 34, a welding technologist and certified lifeguard from London, Ontario, Canada, was sailing aboard Mariposa Cruises' Northern Spirit on Lake Ontario Saturday, June 13, 2015 around 7:35 p.m, when according to friends he was leaning over the railing and fell overboard.
Northern Spirit was on a "a Knot Another Yacht Party event" and had 425 passengers, 19 staff members, and 10 security personnel aboard when the incident took place.
White was seen to surface after the plunge, swim a few strokes then go under the water surface, according to witnesses.
The search continued onto Sunday then Monday which was complicated by fog and strong currents near the Humber River on Monday. Tuesday the search continue with no sign of White.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada launched an investigation on Monday.
Mariposa Cruise said in a statement, "The captain responded immediately to the report of a man overboard, noting a vessel that large takes time to stop, and that the first mate threw a life ring towards where passengers were pointing in the water."
The entire statement says, "7:35 p.m. - Keith white is near the bow (front) of the vessel with friends, and goes overboard
Captain is "immediately" notified and puts the engines into neutral "in order to stop the forward progress of the vessel and to prepare to change course on the reciprocal (180 degrees) as is required for a rescue operation.
The vessel does not come to an immediate stop because of its size.
Captain notifies Toronto Police marine unit.
Marine unit dispatches two of their rapid response vessels.
The First Mate, completing his security rounds, rushed to the stern (rear) of the vessel, down the stairs to the lower deck and threw a life ring/flotation device into the area where passengers are pointing.
Deckhand was already in the process of readying the rescue boat to be lowered and launched. The rescue boat could not be launched until the vessel completed its maneuvering.
Toronto Marine unit arrives within minutes.
Captain is communicating with the Canadian Coast Guard.
One of the police boats goes to where White was last seen, the other is assigned to search the shoreline and breakwaters.
Peel Regional Police and Toronto Fire, as well as the Northern Spirit search waters until told to stop by the Coast Guard."