Ferry crew keeps silent, two years after crash
The two crew members aboard the bridge of the doomed Queen of the North continued their silence Wednesday, despite a federal government report that said they were distracted and did not change course before the ferry crashed.
And as the RCMP and crown prosecutors are finalizing a report on a two-year-long investigation into possible criminal negligence in the crash, both Karen Briker and Karl Lilgert refused to speak to CTV News.
Briker was the person behind the wheel of the Queen of the North when she strayed off course, and is one of two people who know what happened in those final, crucial moments.
The other man is Lilgert, who was the officer on duty when the Queen of the North crashed into Gil Island and sank with two passengers aboard, two years ago.
A Transportation Safety Board report concluded that a "personal conversation" between two crew members was one of the factors led to the crash on March 22, 2006.
On Wednesday in Prince Rupert, with friends by her side, Briker continued her silence, refusing to give any of the answers passengers and the family of the two people killed is seeking.
Her husband, Doug Buss, told CTV's Stephen Smart that the TSB report speaks for itself.
"You can go and read that and get all the information that you need regarding this," he told CTV's Stephen Smart. "We'd like to you leave my place of business and if you don't leave I'm going to have to take some other action."
Five months after the crash, Lilgert moved to begin a new life as an apple farmer, away from the west coast.
CTV News has caught up with him twice since the sinking, but he has never spoken public about the accident.
He wasn't at home running an art gallery on his property on Wednesday.
But Lilgert did release a statement apologizing for the crash through the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers' Union.
"I continue to grieve for the missing persons and would with all my heart exchange my life for theirs," he said in the statement.
"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about everyone that was impacted by the tragic incident. For all of this I am deeply sorry," he said.
But Lilgert's statement doesn't explain what went wrong in the 14 minutes between a failure to change course and the crash.
Crown prosecutors say they are expecting a final report from the RCMP within about a month and then will decide whether or not charges are warranted.
"There are still two people who remain missing and we're also sensitive to the fact that this no doubt left a traumatic life experience for those who were on the vessel that night, so we want to make sure this is done properly," said RCMP Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre.
If charges are laid, the maximum sentence for criminal negligence causing death is life in prison.
With reports from CTV British Columbia's Stephen Smart and Julia Foy