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Divers who found capsized fishing boat awarded for bravery

A buoy from the ill-fated fishing boat Miss Ally rests on the dock in Woods Harbour, N.S., on Feb. 19, 2013.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Four Nova Scotians who set out in heavy seas to search for the Miss Ally after the fishing boat capsized in February, claiming five lives, have been awarded provincial medals of bravery.

The Nova Scotia government says Thomas Hennigar, Donald Mahaney, Thomas Nickerson and Gary Thurber spent 30 hours trying to find the 13-metre vessel and dove beneath its hull after it went down in a storm in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Miss Ally, based in Woods Harbour, N.S., was on a trip to catch halibut off southwestern Nova Scotia when its emergency locator beacon transmitted a distress call via satellite late on Feb. 17.

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The bodies of the five crew members were never found, but the government says the heroic actions of the four divers have provided loved ones with answers on what happened that night.

The men are among seven recipients of this year's medals of bravery, which are awarded to Nova Scotians who risk their lives or safety to help others.

This year's recipients also include Aiden Brunn of Martins River and Patrick May of Maplewood, who responded to the scene of a fiery two-vehicle crash in March, and Robert Henderson of Springhill, who helped rescue a neighbour from her burning home in November, 2012.

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