HALIFAX (CP) - A "well-loved" volunteer crew member swept off a Nova Scotia tall ship sailing the Atlantic is the daughter of Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey, the hockey club said Sunday.
Laura Gainey, 25, was washed off a deck at the back of the vessel by a huge wave at 9:30 p.m. Friday.
A search has been underway since then, with U.S. coast guard vessels, several aircraft and the Picton Castle barque participating in the attempts to find Gainey in seas 700 kilometres east-southeast of Cape Cod.
Dan Moreland, the senior captain of the Picton Castle, says Laura Gainey is an enthusiastic volunteer on the vessel and is known to be very fit, and is a good swimmer.
Gainey hands GM duties to Gauthier
However, U.S. coast guard spokeswoman Faith Wisinski says that as of noon, Gainey has been in the water 33 hours without a life-jacket.
She says the water is warm in the area, but it's expected hypothermia would normally take a person's life after 36 hours.
Moreland described the situation as "completely devastating for everybody" on the vessel.
He said hundreds of former crew members of the tall ship, which undertakes voyages around the world, have been contacting the Lunenburg, N.S., headquarters to express concern.
"It could happen to any ship, to any captain, and from my point of view, it's the captain's greatest fear," he said, from the headquarters.
Gainey first joined the ship as a trainee in Cape Town in the last three months of the ship's world voyage.
"She is hardworking, someone who wanted to turn her life around. She was passionate about sailing, loves it and worked very hard," he said.
"She was no slouch."
In a news release issued issued by the Montreal Canadiens, the club said "the thoughts and prayers of the entire Montreal Canadiens organization are with Mr. Gainey and his family."
Gainey is currently awaiting news on the search with his three other children Anna, Colleen and Steve.
The club said that Piere Gauthier, assistant general manager, will manage the responsibilities of Gainey, who is the executive vice-president and general manager of the club.