The Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University announced its support today for the Stephan Hopkins Memorial Foundation. At a news conference this morning, the Marine Institute’s executive director, Glenn Blackwood, announced that the institute will work in collaboration with the foundation to provide equipment for the recovery of drowning victims.
“As a province with a long marine history, we have become all too familiar with tragedies resulting from activities on our waters,” said Mr. Blackwood. “For over 40 years, the Marine Institute has been involved in preparing people for activity on the water. We are now in a position to share our expertise and ROV equipment to aid the foundation and ensure that other families across the province do not have to endure the same heartache as the Hopkins family.”
On July 6, 2007, tragedy struck the Hopkins’ family when Stephan Hopkins was involved in a canoeing accident on Little Bonne Bay pond. It took 73 days for searchers to find Stephan's body – a painful wait for family and friends. His body was recovered by a couple from the United States: Gene and Sandy Ralston. They used a side scan sonar and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) underwater camera. Within 29 minutes, they found his body.
To protect other families from the pain the Hopkins’ family experienced in waiting so long to find their son’s body, a group of volunteers has set up the Stephan Hopkins Memorial Foundation to raise funds to purchase the same equipment for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We live on an island in the middle of the Atlantic. We should not have to bring someone in from the United States to aid in such a recovery,” said Mr. Pinksen. “The equipment used to find Stephan should be available to every family in this province and the goal of the foundation is make sure that it is so no other family has to experience the pain and heartache of such a tragedy.”
Also on hand to address the news conference was Terry Hopkins, Stephan Hopkins’ father and founder of the foundation.
For more information on the Stephan Hopkins Memorial Foundation, visit their website at www.73days.ca.