MV Lafferty Ferry towed ashore after being stuck for days

The MV Lafferty has been stranded on the Liard River since yesterday with staff aboard. (Submitted photo)

The MV Lafferty Ferry and the crew aboard have been brought back to the shore after being stranded for days on the Liard River near Fort Simpson.

Greg Hanna, spokesperson for the department of Infrastructure, said in an email the ferry lost power in one engine while being repositioned to dock for the winter season on Monday. No passengers were aboard.

Crew were forced to remain aboard the vessel, which was approximately 200 meters from shore. Hanna said the crew remained on board as it was determined to be the safest option and that they had heat, water, food and communication devices.

The three crew members who spent two nights aboard the vessel were rescued by Yellowknife-based Arctic Response early Wednesday morning.

Adam Woogh, manager Arctic Response in the NWT, said the mission was executed successfully despite arriving to “terrible” ice conditions on Tuesday evening.

Woogh, who was not a part of the mission, said the team used a series of ropes and a small boat to rescue the crew.

He credited the department of Infrastructure for contacting his organization to conduct the rescue, as these missions can be dangerous on fast moving rivers.

“Any fall through the ice can be dangerous, but if it happens on a lake you fall through and you end up just bobbing right there,” he explained. “If you got a substantial current like you do on the Liard River, you go under, it pushes you under the ice, and that’s it, you’re gone.”

“So they had to proceed very cautiously.”

The crew who were stuck on the ferry have returned home “after a long few days,” Hanna said.

He added the ferry has now returned to shore as crews were able to secure a winch line to the vessel on Wednesday night.

Hanna said there were plans to attach the winch line earlier in the week, but heavy snow and poor visibility delayed the process.

The vessel did sustain some damage as a result of the incident, Hanna explained, the steering pump will require $500 worth of repairs.


About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at