Crew member narrowly escapes ferry and then takes charge of evacuation: trial

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - A crew member who helped evacuate the Queen of the North ferry the night it sank told a B.C. Supreme Court trial that the ship was listing so badly she thought it might tip over.

Lynn Cloutier is the latest witness to testify at Karl Lilgert's trial for criminal negligence causing the deaths of two passengers.

Cloutier was a cleaner on the ship on its final voyage in March 2006, and told the jury her locker tipped over in front of the door to her cabin, trapping her inside the small room as it filled up with water.

Cloutier says once she managed to move the locker, she made her way to the ship's upper deck and, as she puts it, took control of one of the rescue stations.

She says she directed crew to lower a powered vessel known as a shepherd boat, which has a motor and guides life boats once they're in the water.

Cloutier says at one point, as she and other crew struggled to grab a life raft that had become stuck because the ship had listed so badly.