VANCOUVER — A B.C. Ferries crew member says he was knocked out when the Queen of the North collided with Gil Island.
Tyrell Derry said Monday that he suffered a big cut on the top of his head but has no memory of exactly how he got the injury.
He was testifying at the trial of Karl Lilgert, a former deck officer has pleaded not guilty to two counts of criminal negligence causing death. Two passengers, Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette, went missing and were presumed dead after the vessel struck the island in March 2006.
Derry, who has been employed by B.C. Ferries for about 10 years, told a B.C. Supreme Court jury that he was asleep at the time of the collision and when he woke his room was full of water.
“I was a little disoriented. I tried to get out of my room and couldn’t. I broke the dead bolt trying to get out.”
His cabin, located below the car deck, had been “squished lengthwise” and his bed had been pushed up against the sink.
It took him 10 to 15 minutes before he was able to escape from the cabin.
“Did you suffer any injuries?” asked Crown counsel Mike Huot.
“Yeh, I had a big cut on top of my head.”
“When did you first notice that?” asked Huot.
“Pretty well right away,” Derry said.
In his underwear, he left the cabin and learned that another crew member, Lynn Cloutier, was trapped in her cabin.
He went for help and to get an axe so that that he could help Cloutier, but by the time he got back Cloutier had escaped from the cabin.
“She was confused, running up and down the stairs, not knowing what she was doing, where she was going.”
Derry said he made his way to the upper deck and assisted in helping passengers into a lifeboat before getting off the ship himself.
Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Nancy Adams, he said that shortly after he woke, he heard over the public address system the announcement to abandon ship.
Adams pointed to a statement he’d made that the water level was eight inches in his cabin shortly after he woke up.
She also pointed to prior statements he made to the Transportation Safety Board that he had been fairly certain he’d been knocked unconscious by the collision.
“You thought you’d been unconscious for eight minutes?” asked Adams.
“Give or take, yes,” he replied.
Derry said he believed he’d been the third-last person off the vessel and thought everyone was off the boat.
He said he saw Lilgert later aboard a Canadian Coast Guard vessel.
“You believed he looked suicidal,” said Adams.
“He had that appearance, yes,” said Derry.
Keven Hilton, the second officer aboard the Queen of the North at the time of the collision, testified that everything seemed routine when he handed over control of the vessel to Lilgert just prior to the collision.
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