Capt. Colin Henthorne reveals a first-hand account of what really happened on the night of the Queen of the North disaster.

Queen of the North captain to speak in Courtenay

Captain Colin Henthorne special guest of the Courtenay Museum lecture series

Few recent events in British Columbia have seized the public mind like the 2006 sinking of the BC Ferries passenger vessel Queen of the North.

Captain Colin Henthorne will speak on the subject in this encore presentation at the Courtenay Museum lecture series Thursday, March 15th beginning at 7 pm.

The basic facts are beyond dispute. Just after midnight on March 22, 2006, the Queen of the North — carrying 101 passengers — struck an underwater ledge off Gil Island, 135 kilometres south of Prince Rupert. The impact tore open the ship’s bottom and ripped out the propellers. In less than an hour, it sank to the bottom of Wright Sound. Despite the crew’s skilled evacuation, two passengers went missing and have never been found.

Helmswoman Karen Briker was fired. Fourth mate Karl Lilgert was charged with criminal negligence causing death and sentenced to four years in prison.

Captain Henthorne, who was not on watch at the time of the grounding, fought to keep his job and lost. It took him more than six years to recover his career.

Henthorne was born in Vancouver and grew up in British Columbia. He has spent nearly all his life living and working on the water. He sailed as a master with BC Ferries starting in 1990 and was 52 when the Queen of the North sank. He has continued to work aboard and to command ships.

Admission to the evening is $5 for Historical Society members; $6 for non-members (plus GST). Advance tickets are recommended and can be purchased by phone: 250-334-0686 ext. 5.

Copies of Henthorne’s book “The Queen of the North Disaster, The Captain’s Story” will be available for purchase ($24.95) and signing after the lecture.

The Courtenay and District Museum is located at 207 Fourth Street in downtown Courtenay.

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