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Phantom Rescue by Andrew Finnigan

Neutrino Jam by Brad Smith

Phantom Rescue

By: Andrew Finnigan

August 5th, 2003
Cargo Freighter Chinook
About 607 NM Out Of Vancouver

"Don’t worry Kevin. . . ." Captain Kenneth Langley said confidently. Kevin Shafer, the ship’s meteorologist, was glued to his station.

"I hope so," Kevin said as he glanced over at control panels near the helmsman station.

"We’re making good time. By the time your storm catches up this old girl will be in dry dock getting an overhaul on her engines and that stupid SONAR (Sound Navigation And Ranging) system," the captain said as he glanced down at the screen which should have displayed the sonar readings. The SONAR had been broken since they left Tokyo.

The Chinook was doing well even at the age of seventeen. She had two fourteen-cylinder, diesel engines providing her with power and driving her two screws. She was thirty feet longer than the Titanic, and she could hold over 70,000 tons of cargo both above and below decks.

The captain figured that even if the storm caught up, the ship could take it.

* * *

At around seven the next evening they were entering an area known as the Cob Seamount, one of the shallowest points in the pacific. The sonar was still not working.

"Engineering?" the captain called over the radio.


"How are the repairs on the sonar coming?"


"Can you go any faster? We need that operational soon. . . like five minutes ago."

"Sir, no can do. We don’t have the proper part onboard. Unless you contact USCG (United States Coast Guard) to fly in the part, we’re in trouble."

"Fine then. Continue to try and fix that one."

"Roger and over."

"Well men?" the captain said to the bridge crew. "Can we go around the sea mount?" the captain said to Kevin as well as the navigating officer.

"Negative, the storm will get us," Kevin said, glancing back over the latest report off the Doppler RADAR.

"Fine then. Reduce speed to 25 KTS and get GPS (Global Positioning System) on line. Get the Topographical charts and study them well. We’re flying blind." He didn’t like that idea, "We might also want to draw straws among the workers to see who can get up on the crow’s nest."

The Cob Seamount was only about thirty meters below the surface of the water and the ship was plowing fifteen meters deep so there shouldn’t have been a problem with just going through. But without the sonar, any obstruction underwater would go unseen, and the captain wasn’t willing to take risks. So the charts would have to serve as at least a partial guide.

At around nine o’clock, the silence of the night aboard the ship was broken by a loud screeching sound from the lower levels of the ship.

Alarm bells went off like crazy.

The captain jumped up from his station and ran over to the bulkhead controls.

"Water in access tunnels on F!" someone yelled over the radio. The captain activated the bulkhead doors in an attempt to stop the flooding.

"All back emergency!" the captain yelled. The ship continued to shake violently.

"Sir, I think we’ve got cavitations," said the helmsman, after reversing the engines failed to slow the ship. The screeching continued, followed by two loud bangs that sounded like metal snapping. There was another bang. The ship jerked and began to shake more violently.

"Okay, stop. ALL STOP!" the captain yelled. "What about damage reports?"

"Engineering is on it."

"Get the pumps active in the damaged sectors when the reports come in."

"Yes sir."

The captain glanced around the room for a minute. "We need to stop," he said. "Reverse to stop." The helmsmen pulled the throttle back from neutral and the shaking started again. "Okay stop!...We’ve thrown a propeller blade." The captain sat back down. "Are we listing?"

"Yes sir, about 15 degrees toward the bow and about seven to port."

"Blow the tanks."

"Aye. Aye, sir."

There was a hissing noise and the ship rose slightly.

"Get the frogmen (SCUBA Divers) down to check on the props."

"Yes sir." The captain grabbed a hand-held radio and left the bridge.

* * *

Kevin walked into the captain’s state room at around three in the afternoon. He was concerned about the storm. It had picked up speed. It now was expected to have winds up to 230 knots and waves at least sixteen meters high. If they had to move, it was now.

The captain was hunched over a mess of blueprints and topographical maps.

"Sir?" Kevin said nervously.

"Let me guess. It’s pulling in," the captain said, sounding annoyed.

"Yes sir."

"What’s its ETA?"

"Five, maybe six hours." The captain looked up at Kevin. His face was pale.

"We have lost a propeller and a blade off the other. We also have most of the forward compartments flooded and a few on the starboard side. We are listing about 10 degrees to the left and 6 degrees forward. But we have to go. Tell Communications to send out a Pan-Pan call to the Coast Guard. I’ll be up in a minute and we will get going. It’s not going to be pretty."

* * *

The storm hit at around eight o’clock, and was making the issue of getting away more difficult. Most of the people on board were suffering from motion sickness from the constant shaking from busted propellers, in addition to the waves which swamped the decks every few minutes. They couldn’t risk taking on ballast in the ship’s condition.

The Canadian Coast Guard had sent the rescue cutter CCGS Arrow Post as well as the ice breaker CCGS Terry Fox, to rendezvous with the ship but it was almost a day away at full speed. The United States Navy also had a Los Angeles (688 I) class attack submarine within half a day of travel.

The ship had begun to list more heavily, and with each wave, risked capsizing.

"Brace!" the captain yelled. The helmsman pushed the general alarm button. The crew in the bridge held onto whatever was bolted down and prepared for the hit. "Get it in front of us, navigation! Don’t you dare let it broadside us!" The bow of the ship rose steeply and then fell as water rushed over.

The crow’s nest was swinging and the men decided to abandon it despite the captain’s orders. Another wave was approaching fast. It was huge, almost 25 meters. The captain needed to know if there was another wave behind that one. If there was, they risked being capsized or running into a solid wall of water on the other side. Even worse, their ship could suffer the same fate as the Edmund Fitzgerald. They could crest the first wave, then plow through the second wave on the way down causing them to hit the bottom of the ocean, and then be snapped in two by the weight of the second wave washing over the midship.

"Crow’s nest, I need a report– does that thing have a sister?" the captain asked as the crew braced again. The ship’s one prop caused the ship to constantly drift to the left. "Navigation, keep us straight!... Crow’s Nest, answer!" There was no response. "Brace!"

The ship rode up onto the wave and crashed down on the other side hard. The bow of the ship dove into the water. Water crashed up over the bow and knocked the crow’s nest tower down. There were several loud snapping noises as the crates came loose and broke away. The captain watched in horror. The water was still rushing toward them. "Get down! Sound the general alarm!" the captain ordered. The water hit the bridge and the windows broke in, followed by the rush of water. The ship rocked heavily to the left and the lights flickered. The room filled with the smell of electrical smoke as the computers got their first and last taste of salt water. Just about every alarm system on the ship went off, and the ship’s status board lit up like a Christmas tree. The wave passed and the ship rose. It was listing about 30 degrees to starboard. Any more and they were at risk of capsizing.

"Abandon ship," the captain said calmly over the emergency intercom. He switched on the emergency transponder and the alarm.

"Shouldn’t we send out a Mayday call?" someone asked in the dark.

"Have you seen the Poseidon Adventure?" the captain asked.

"No," someone joked, knowing that it was in the ship’s library. The Captain ignored the sarcasm and continued on.

"Well, if we waste any more time we will be in a real life version of it. Now get your gear and get to the boats."

The wind was strong and it was a struggle to hang onto the railing on the poop deck which led to the life boats. If the 36 men had not been strapped to the rail they were sure they would have been blown away.

The three ‘day glow’ orange life boats sat on slip launch tracks on the poop deck at the stern of the ship. Each boat was designed to carry sixteen men and a pilot. The boats were affectionately known as ‘Easter Eggs’ among the crew. The boats themselves-- besides being egg shaped, looked more like submersibles. The special design was made to survive being capsized and in the event that it got stuck upside-down the top and bottom both had two water tight hatches instead of doors. The only light in the cabin was from battery operated emergency lights. There were only three windows: one on the front and two on the sides. Men sat facing forward, buckled into five point harnesses. The back two rows of seats folded up to accommodate two litters for injured crew. The pilot sat in a rectangular pod or tower that bulged up near the back of the boat. These boats were also fitted with a six cylinder diesel/electric engine which gave them excellent maneuvering power for rescue and emergency use. The other great feature was that the lifeboats had the capability to lock together in a catamaran or trimaran configuration, and then network their navigation computers so one pilot could control all three boats at the same time.

The first boat was loaded quickly and launched. It slid nose first off the stern of the ship, submerging into the water before bobbing back up to the surface. It pulled away from the stern and waited to group with the other two boats. The second boat was almost loaded when they were broad sided by another wave.

Three men were swept over board. The ship rocked again and fell back, crushing the fallen men.

"Get that rig loaded and launched!" the captain yelled, although he could hardly be heard over the storm.

The second boat launched and just avoided getting hit by another wave.

The last of the crew men got the third boat prepared to launch. Another wave hit, and the ship rolled over onto its starboard hull. The third boat still hung from its track. The surviving men struggled to climb onto the hull of the ship, but it was no use. The life boats couldn’t risk coming closer for fear of being dragged under by the suction created by the sinking ship. Captain Langley managed to climb up on a railing and grab the emergency release lever for the third boat. The boat flipped on its side and fell off the track. It struck Langley in the head and then hit the railing of the poop deck splitting its side open and sending a shower of fiberglass into the water. The ships exposed belly was hit by a wave, knocking the life boat free. It floated for a second or two, and sank. Captain Langley was unconscious and he wasn’t wearing a life jacket. He was sucked under with the sinking lifeboat. There was no hope for the men in the water. It was just a matter of time before they too would drown.

Suddenly they heard the low drone of an aircraft approaching. The men in the boats looked up, and finally one spotted it. It looked like a Canadian Coast Guard CH-124 Sea King helicopter. It lit its spot light, and focussed it on the men in the water. The light was blinding, and it washed out a lot of the details on the front of the chopper. It also seemed as if it were lit from behind by another source they could not see. It almost made it look like the chopper was glowing in a godly light.

The helicopter banked steeply and attempted to get lower despite the ferocious winds that threatened to toss it into the sea.

Something crashed in the water near the ship. It was a white barrel. In fact, it was an inflatable life boat. The shell cracked open and it inflated. The men climbed in, paddled over to the other two boats and boarded them. The crew deflated the boat and dragged it on board. Then they locked the two rafts together and sealed the hatches. The lifeboat pilot honked the horn twice to indicate that they were okay. The chopper banked left and began to fly away. Alex Baker, one of the men near one of the portholes took a photo of the chopper leaving. He could clearly read the number on the tail: "C-158." It soon disappeared into the gray of the storm.

The Chinook’s bow had split open like a tuna fish can, just past the forecastle bulkhead. Water welled up in the flooding compartments. The forecastle disappeared into the sea and began to drag the ship down. The portholes in the forward berthing compartments exploded and huge clouds of mist spewed out as the front end of the ship was devoured by the sea. The rear end tilted up and let out a loud groan before the lights on board flickered out again. Then the rear portholes exploded and an almost demonic sounding roar erupted from the bowels of the dying ship as it quickly descended into the depths of the abyss below the waves.

They were alone.

* * *

The storm broke in the early hours of the morning. It was still dark outside. No one had even attempted to sleep. They were all worn out. The pilot opened the main hatch to let some fresh air in and to take a look outside.

The waves were small, hardly a meter high.

There wasn’t any noise except the waves and the ping on the emergency transponder. The pilot got out of the tower and climbed onto the roof. It was so peaceful. Hard to believe that a storm had rocked these now calm seas almost two hours ago.

Suddenly, there was a low rumbling that seemed to be growing louder. A huge black monolithic craft rose violently out of the ocean and crashed down not even a hundred meters from the two boats.

The commotion drew the curiosity of the sailors inside, and soon the hatches were all open with men trying to see what was happening. The black object turned toward them and turned on a set of spotlights.

"Hello!" one of the pilots yelled toward the craft. "Hello!" a voice answered. "USS Cheyenne. We have come to help you to the rescue ships. Care to come aboard?"

"You bet."

* * *

The crew was towed to the Terry Fox and arrived in the late afternoon. They recounted their story to the interested crew, but there was no one who believed them when they told them about the chopper.

"Nobody flies in those anymore. It’s impossible."

"Yes it is," Alex argued. "We saw it. It was a Sea King."

"Impossible! The Coast Guard hasn’t used Sea Kings since the 70's."

"I worked on a frigate," Kevin said. "I know what a Sea King is. That was a Sea King."

"Maybe it was a ghost chopper!" someone joked. "I mean they’ve got ghost ships. Why not helicopters too?" The Coast Guard crew were chuckling.

"Maybe it was a ghost . . ." Kevin said, frustrated. "But that was a Canadian Coast Guard Sea king helicopter." Kevin didn’t actually believe in ghosts but he felt that the Coast Guard officers were lying to him. In fact, he was even betting that C-158 was the chopper that was in the hanger at the rear of the Terry Fox, and that this was just a sick joke to toy with the minds of the sailors that were attempting to deal with the early stages of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

"Fair enough. Did any of you catch the id number?"

"I’ve even got it on film. It was C-158," Alex said confidently.

Both crews were silent as one of the Coast Guard officers searched the number on a computer. The officer stopped and made a puzzled look.

"That can’t be. Let me try again."

"It just may have been a ghost, my friend." He smirked. "That chopper was filed ‘crashed’ in ‘75 during a mission to rescue the crew of a capsized tanker -- just like you guys. According to this they never even found the wreckage. It just disappeared." A silence fell over room. That fact was pretty freaky. It did suggest that the men were rescued by a ghost helicopter.

Some of the men made dumb excuses and then shuffled out of the room to retreat to their bunks. Most of the other believers did so as well, but there were some of the men that didn’t buy it and they stayed in the room with their eyes glued to the computer screen. Kevin and Alex were the only crew of the Chinook that remained in the room. The rest had gone to bed. They both were tired but they both wanted to know what actually happened.

"It’s not a ghost. There must have been a chopper in the area," Alex said, rubbing his eyes.

"I’d have to agree with you but I’d still would like a licence number"

"It’s on the camera, just get it developed." The officer was slouched over on the back of his swivel chair.

"We might. . ."

"Brian can do it," another officer piped up.

"Good. Get it to him." Alex passed him his camera. The officer left to take the film to one of the ship’s technicians while the others stayed in the room.

"We dragged the inflatable raft in, didn’t we?" Alex asked. Kevin nodded and one of the officers went to get it. The officer returned with it and they spread it out on the floor so they could exanimate it.

It was too beat up to be new and the white plastic barrel was marred with scrapes from a collision with something. It had flecks of orange and red paint on it. Otherwise, there wasn’t anything unusual about it. They pulled the tarp out of the inside pocket of the pontoon. Besides the international distress symbol (a black square and a black circle side by side) it had a identification tag on it. The tag read:

C - 1 5 8

They stared stunned. They had the emergency life raft from the crashed chopper. They wanted to wait for the pictures before they made their final decision.

It took about twenty minutes to get the film developed. The pictures did show a Sea King helicopter but it was out of focus. You couldn’t clearly read the numbers on it but it did look like C-158. The chopper also seemed to be surrounded by a strange blue light. It sure looked that they had been rescued by and photographed a ghost helicopter. This couldn’t be right. They couldn’t pick it out but something didn’t fit. Then officer saw it.

"The chopper in the picture was gray," he said, pointing to the photo. "All Canadian Coast Guard choppers are red! The life raft might have been from the C-158, but the helicopter in the photo couldn’t have been the 158. Then what was it? No other country uses ‘C’ at the beginning of an aircraft licence number so it had to be Canadian. But the numbers. Those are unique to that exact chopper. If it has just numbers at the end, its military or government. What else could it be?"

"I don’t think It’s a number," Kevin said. "It’s letters: C-ISB"

"C-ISB, that makes the chopper licenced to a company or a private owner," the officer said, turning back to his computer.

"C-ISB White 1992 Sea King CH-124 Chopper, licenced to Leviathan Oceanographic Services, currently stationed aboard the research vessel ‘Deep C’ of Victoria BC. I think we have it. The Deep C left the day before yesterday bound for Pearl Harbour. That’s it. I think we have it!" He printed out the information sheets on the C-ISB and the Deep C. "Go and give this to the communications officer and tell him to try and make contact with the Deep C." One of the officers left the room to go to the bridge.

"Okay, that still leaves one question," Alex said. "How did we get a hold of the liferaft from the C-158?"

Kevin was about to say something when he PA system turned on.

"Attention all crew. We have received transmissions from an ELB (emergency locator beacon) nearby and we’re going in to check it out. All rescue teams and equipment are to be put on stand by." They felt the ship beginning to make a turn.

"Well great," the officer on the computer said. "Sorry to spoil the fun but we have to get to our posts. You guys can walk around the boat, but stay out of the way." He grabbed his radio and jacket and promptly left the room.

Alex and Kevin went back to their room to get jackets and then walked up to the bridge to try and find out where they were going.

The bridge was full of activity. And the chatter on the communications radio was broadcasting over the PA in the upper hallways.

"Terry Fox, Terry Fox, Terry Fox calling Deep C, Deep C, Deep C. Come in Deep C. Over."

"Arrow Post to Terry Fox. New contact Bering zero-seven-zero. Moving in to check it out. Setting new course three-zero-five. Over."

"Roger Arrow Post. We’ll Follow."

Alex and Kevin came up the stairs into the bridge. They could hear the captain giving orders.

"Set new course three-zero-five."

"Coming right to course three-zero-five. Helm Aye." Alex was impressed at how professional the atmosphere was on the bridge compared to their own. The fact that everyone said "over" after sending a radio transmission was pretty impressive in itself. The only people who had done that on their own ship was the captain and the communications officer.

They could see the Arrow Post bobbing in the waves about half a kilometer in front of them. About another kilometer in front of the Arrow Post was an intermittently flashing white light sitting on the surface of the water.

"Arrow Post to Terry Fox, be advised, underwater obstruction ahead. Depth 10 meters. We’ve marked the obstruction with hazard buoys. Continuing to contact. Over."

"10-4, Arrow Post. Go on ahead. We will hold at obstruction. Over."

"Roger, Terry Fox. Proceeding as ordered. Out."

The captain turned around from his post and waved at Kevin and Alex who were standing at the top of the stairwell.

"We’ve found your ship. It’s right below us," the captain said. A jagged line of red and black banded Isolated Hazard buoys marked the Chinook’s resting spot. "We’re going to stop here and camp out for a while and then head back to port once the salvage ship arrives." Kevin nodded for no particular reason. "You guys though, are heading out tomorrow. The USN, are sending a bird in to pick your people up and get you to dry land. You should head to your rooms and get some rest before then." Kevin and Alex had no choice but to comply, they were escorted back by the first officer.

* * *

At two in the afternoon a United States Navy, V-22 Osprey VSTOL (Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing) aircraft thundered above the rear deck of the Terry Fox. The surviving crew of the Chinook waited patiently as the Coast Guard’s flight officer guided it down (nose facing aft) onto the deck. The noise and the wind from the plane’s twin rotors was deafening. The rear cargo door on the plane opened and the flight officer signaled the men to come over and board the plane. They ran to the aircraft and quickly got aboard. It didn’t take long to have everyone aboard.

The rear door closed behind them and the engines began to roar louder as the rotor RPM’s were raised. The plane gently rose off the deck and ascended well above the deck of the Terry Fox before tilting its engines forward and heading back to shore on an east-north-east course.

Kevin stared out the ‘fish eye’ window. He still had a lot of questions, but they would have to wait until the Chinook was raised by salvage crews

* * *

October 15th, 2003
Nanaimo, British Columbia
Pacific Coast Salvage Company

Kevin and Alex stood on the pier and watched the small flotilla of ships file into the harbour. At the lead was a fleet of three tugs and a pilot boat, followed by the mammoth, twin hulled salvage ship, Artisan. On its back was the bow, stern and superstructure of the Chinook. It wasn’t the entire ship but it was all they were interested in.

Behind the towering Artisan were three smaller salvage and recovery ships: The Albatross, the Lazarus and the ocean tug, Necromancer. The Albatross and Lazarus were pulling another ship that was roughly the same size as the two recovery ships, on a tether behind them with the Necromancer acting as a rudder for the disabled ship. The ship was badly damaged and the bow was totally destroyed.

Sirens wailed behind where Kevin and Alex were standing and an unmarked, black, Chevrolet Suburban pushed past them and headed toward the drydock. Four men and two women got out and dawned jackets with yellow lettering that Alex assumed said ‘RCMP / GRC’.

"Looks like they got a drug boat," Alex said as he watched the damaged white ship being moved into the drydock.

"You really ought to get your eyes checked," Kevin retorted, "It’s the CNTSB (Canadian National Transportation Safety Board)." Alex turned and gave Kevin a friendly punch in the shoulder.

The ship was maneuvered into place above ‘the cradle’. The support ships backed out and the lock doors closed as the drydock began to drain of water.

The Artisan was still trying to get to its dock. The raised sections of the Chinook didn’t look half bad considering what they had been through. Finally the Artisan docked and the ship was tied down. The large quadrupedal crane on the Artisan’s back moved into position to pick up the stern. Another crane onshore moved in to pick up the sections as they were unloaded. One of the NTSB officers noticed them standing at the fence and walked over to investigate.

"Can I help you?" she asked, not caring to venture six meters closer to the fence.

"We’re former crew members of that ship over there," Kevin answered.

"Which one?"

"The cargo freighter."

"You want to come in and see her right?" Kevin nodded but Alex began to speak.

"Actually, we’re quite okay with just watching from here." She could see that Alex wasn’t speaking for the both of them.

"Well, tell you what. If you have ID on you I’ll let you in. Okay?" Kevin instantly produced his crew ID card from his wallet while Alex fished in his coat for his. The officer went and opened the gate for them.

Both men walked over to the superstructure of the Chinook that was lying upright on the pier. Kevin climbed up the stairs on the front side up to the bridge. He slid the door open. It still worked smoothly. Alex was following close behind him. The ship was dark and everything was covered in a thin layer of silt. Kevin’s station was still intact. He walked over to his desk and was surprised to see that his charts in their plastic tubes were still buttoned into the rack. He laughed and unbuttoned them. They were still good. He put the six tubes under his arm and continued looking around the bridge. There was a pile of loose materials near the stairs. It was mostly papers but Kevin could see that there were some solid objects hidden in the pile of mush. He pushed his foot through the pile and knocked three metal objects out. They were the name tags off the desks. They were all badly corroded. Kevin kept digging and found his own. He wiped the front side with his palm and then put it under his arm too. Alex was annoyed.

"Come on, Kevin, lets find that chopper." Kevin smiled and then headed for the door. He was really excited over finding his charts.

They headed back over to the white ship in the dry dock and climbed aboard using the gangplank. The only thing they were looking for here was the helicopter to prove that it was the C-ISB and not the C-158. The walked aft toward the helo deck. There was a group of NTSB officers crowded in front of the hanger. They were prying the doors open. Something had dented them from the inside and they refused to open more than a quarter of the way. Nevertheless, three people went in.

They pulled the tail of the helicopter out through the small hole. It was covered in silt. Kevin rushed over and began wiping away the silt from the licence number.

C - I S B

Both of them let out a sigh of relief.

"Inter Sierra Bravo, We thank you," Alex said and saluted. The mystery was over. The C-ISB had been the chopper they saw. One of the NTSB officers walked over.

"You do realize what happened to this boat, eh?"

"Not exactly. We’re just glad this thing isn’t what I thought it was," Alex said.

"Well, what happened was the boat picked up your ELB signal and the chopper was sent out to investigate. They found you people in a bit of trouble but still in the life boats. They returned to the ship and told the captain who took it as his duty to help so he began to turn around when their ship was ‘ass-ended’ by a wave and driven into the sea floor. Then she flipped over and sank."

"We know," Alex said quietly.

"Then please be respectful of the dead and stop being so damn ‘chipper’." It was true. By turning around to help out the crew of the Chinook, the ship (which could now be positively identified as the Deep-C) had sealed its own fate. The men on the deck had a moment of silence and then saluted the tail again before getting off the ship. Kevin and Alex began to walk toward their cars.

"Where did the lifeboat come from?" Alex piped up suddenly. "It said C-158 on it." They stopped walking.

"The case and parts of the boat were beat up. The paint on the rubber hull probably just got smeared," Kevin suggested. Alex jogged his memory trying to picture just what the numbers looked like. He couldn’t remember.

"Yeah, you’re right," Alex said and kept walking. Kevin didn’t start walking again.

"I want to know what we hit," Kevin said. "I mean we lost five men on our ship and an entire crew was lost on the Deep C, I got to know what started all this."

"It was a busted SONAR," Alex whined. He didn’t want to go back. He wanted to move on.

"No, after that. What did we hit?" Kevin began to walk toward the section of the Chinook’s bow. It still was ominous even though it was disembodied from the rest of the ship. The SONAR cone was intact in the bow as he came around the front. To the port side, he saw the giant gash in the hull. Red paint was smeared along the entire length of this section of the boat and he could see it extended even to the stern and made a perfect line to the busted prop. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He approached the circular hole in the bow and looked in. He could make out the shape of something in there but he couldn’t see what it was. He fished in his coat pocket and grabbed his small, AA powered, Maglite and turned it on. The beam of the flashlight played on the puddles of water inside and gave everything a spooky glow. He moved the beam over to the object. It was a long thin cylindrical tube but he still couldn’t see much more. He went around to where the ship had split open and he entered through the bulkhead door.

He was in the main access tunnel on F. He walked forward. Every footstep echoed on the metal-grated floor. Then he entered the forward bow compartment which led to the SONAR access bay. Light shone in though the hole. The object was right in front of him. He raised the beam of his flashlight off the floor and moved it onto the object. Kevin could see that the object was painted red and had small rivots running along its legnth. The part that was closest to Kevin was torn apart and he was able to get a look inside. The inside was a mess of steel wires and green colored metal braces. There was a tube that ran along the top side. A universial joint-- like those on a truck, protruded from the end of the severed tube. Kevin put the pieces of information he had gathered from examining the object together in his head.

"Oh my god!" He said to himself and jumped backward. "Its a helicopter!" Hopeing he was wrong he moved the beam of the flashilght over the object. The beam of light illuminated a section that had some writing on it. It was a licence number:

C - 1 5 8

Phantom Rescue © Copyright APF Publications 2001-2002

This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, establishments, business and vessels (with the exception of the CCGS Terry Fox, CCGS Arrow Post, MV. Edmund Fitzgerald and the USS Cheyenne [SSN 773]) etc. are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, alive or dead, business establishments, events, etc. is purely coincidental. Any reproduction or transmission of this book/story in part or in full, in any form or by any means (electronic, photocopying recording or otherwise) is strictly prohibited without prior written consent of the author.

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