PEI senator rescued after accident in Norway
Published on: September 30, 2014
A senator on a committee research trip was “almost lost” during an incident in Norwegian waters last week.
Senate Liberal Elizabeth Hubley suffered a broken arm when she fell into the water between a salmon pen and a Zodiac boat, a rigid inflatable craft. She had to be pulled from the waves by two of her colleagues who say the incident could have been far worse.
“It could have been a tragedy. We almost lost her,” said Sen. Jim Munson, who was on the trip.
Hubley, Munson, senators Don Meredith and David Wells were in Bergen, Norway on the last day of a fact-finding mission by the Senate’s fisheries committee, which is studying aquaculture practices at home and around the world with an eye on updating Canada’s laws. A report is scheduled for early next year.
Hubley was the last to step off the Zodiac boat when it pulled up alongside the salmon pen, a large, circular enclosure with a narrow, plastic grate walkway around the circumference, lined with a thick plastic pipe rim to help it float in the water.
Meredith, Munson and Wells safely stepped onto the walkway while high waves rocked the boat. But as Hubley went to step onto the walkway, a gust of wind hit.
Wells heard a splash, turned around, and saw Hubley face-down in the water. The Zodiac, which was tied to the pen, was being pulled toward it amid the chop.
He said he dropped to one knee and kicked out his left leg to prevent the boat from crushing Hubley into the thick plastic pipe lining the salmon cage. Wells said he was also worried she could be pulled under the boat.
Wells grabbed the scruff of Hubley’s jacket, but couldn’t pull her out.
Munson dropped to his knees and successfully pulled Hubley onto the platform.
“I have no idea where the strength came from,” said the diminutive Munson. “We could have lost her.”
Once on the narrow walkway, Hubley was in a prone position, Munson said. Wells said Hubley held her arm and yelled that it was broken.
The group clambered back into the Zodiac, sped through the waves to a nearby barge – about the size of a three-storey apartment building, Wells said – then waited for the boat that ferried them out to sea to carry them on the hour-and-a-half journey to shore.
“It could have been a whole lot worse,” Wells said.
“She’s a tough lady and good for her for not panicking.”
Hubley’s office said she was resting at her Ottawa residence Tuesday and awaiting word on whether she will need surgery for the injury.