GAS TANK CONTROVERSY

On 20 March, almost two weeks following the disappearances, a U.S. Coast Guard Boatswain (DRPS Report #163) spotted and retrieved a “24 litre orange Yamaha gas tank” along the shore of Lake Ontario at a spot near the end of Dickerson Road nearby Wilson, NY.  The writing on the tank was in both English and French so the U.S. officials informed the DRPS.  The tank was found inverted and without a cap.  The tank was brought back to Canada and identified (not 100% sure as per DRPS Report #163) as from the missing Boston Whaler.


The fact that the tank was separated from the boat opens a number of questions:

  • Was the tank disconnected from the hose, and if so, by whom and for what reason?

  • If the tank broke free of the hose, where did it break and what force was applied to it to cause the break?


It is worthwhile noting that a 14-year-worker at the East Shore Marina, who used the Boston Whaler regularly, stated (DRPS Report #125) that “the gas tank would not sink but it may be held to the boat by the gas line.”  He further went on to say that, “if the boat had taken on water, but had not sunk, with the recent currents and winds the boat [and presumably a freed gas tank] would wash up on shore near the [sic] Rochester, New York [some 120 km east of Wilson, NY].”

Given the currents and wind on the night of the disappearance, is it logical to expect the gas tank to have drifted across the lake to Wilson NY unless the boat had been taken west to Toronto?  (A number of reports in the ATI files refer to the youths being seen in the area of Kew Beach in Toronto, nearby the home of Jamie Lefebvre, in the days following the disappearance.)

Following an initial denial, in an ATIP request, for the gas tank images, DRPS finally sent a series of 21 images to me in 2020.  What we saw raised more questions than it answered.

For example, the tank was identified by the yard manager at the marina by a dent.  After scouring the images provided by DRPS, I could only identify one dent, and it was a minor blemish… not one which would stand out considering the number of tanks the manager must see in a day or a week.



The police surmise that after the tank ran dry, one of the boys uncapped the tank and left the top off.  The boy then disconnected the tank from the engine.   The tank was then tossed overboard.



But if the tank was tossed in the middle of the lake, what are the chances that, over a 14-day period from the day the boys went missing until the recovery of the tank, the tank did not roll and fill, considering the reported weather and sea conditions during the period?