REPORTING · 10th December 2013
Lou Simoneau is grateful to the Search and Rescue programs of this region after he went overboard on Thursday, December 5th.
“I was moving back to town from Butedale, I’m a caretaker down there. I was packing all my stuff home. I should have waited longer. The water was pretty rough. Anyway, my motor quit and I started drifting. I had my kicker going and I hit a rock and then, I got swung overboard,” said Simoneau.
He had to swim 50’ to get out of the water and his boat took off on him. He spent about 20 hours on Maitland Island. He estimated he got to shore at 3:00 pm. He was picked up Friday Afternoon around 10 or 11. Fortunately, he radioed for assistance before he was separated from his boat.
How did Simoneau keep warm? “I did all kinds of exercises all night long. When I got there, I was soaking wet to start with. I took all my clothes off. That helped a little bit I guess. I had a pair of chest waders on and a big life jacket on. It was cold but I decided to laugh and move around and dance around and whatever. I did everything I can think of,” said Simoneau.
He stated he made one big mistake while he was on Maitland Island. He thought he could reach his boat after he got out of the water. He walked over the island and found the boat had sunk and was 50’ straight down. He could not get to it. As he was walking back, night came upon him and he could no longer see where he was going. It forced him to stay put on the rocks rather than the shore. Simoneau stated he could have been rescued the first night.
Simoneau thanked Search and Rescue and the Gordon Reid which picked him up off the island. When asked if he is all right, Simoneau replied he is, for the most part. His feet are numb and his hand was swollen the morning after his rescue. He added his shoulders are sore from doing push-ups.
He learned items such as hand held radios, flares, lights and a lighter would be helpful. “If you get a chance to call the coast guard, you know helps coming, and stay on the shore. Don’t move,” said Simoneau.