Search and rescue officials say they are still hoping to find two missing fishermen alive, after their boat sank near St. John’s Tuesday.

The Joint Rescue Search and Coordination Centre in Halifax told reporters on Wednesday that rescue crews are still hoping to successfully locate two of the four men believed to have been aboard a 6.7-metre fishing boat when it sank off the coast of Cape Spear.

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A boating tragedy outside St. John’s harbour has touched three generations of fishermen.

Eugene Walsh, his son Keith and grandson Keith Jr., as well as family friend Bill Humby, were aboard a boat that ran into trouble in Freshwater Bay on Tuesday, confirmed friend Terry Ryan for CBC.

“Keith Walsh (Sr.) and Billy Humby were very good friends. They were real close friends of mine,” said Ryan, adding that Keith’s garage was a community hangout.

“Just two nights ago we were watching America’s Got Talent. He had a little pool table he just bought. If I dropped up by there for an hour, I knew I’d see a bunch of friends.”

Ryan said the men were “good guys who united a community” in Shea Heights.

“They were just positive to be around,” he said.

2 bodies recovered

The bodies of two of the men have been recovered off the coast of Cape Spear, RCMP said.

Officials from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Halifax also confirmed Wednesday morning the 6.7-metre open boat was found near the crew’s fishing nets.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canads said Wednesday afternoon that it is deploying a team of investigators to St. John’s. In a news release, the agency said the boat had sunk.

The coast guard vessel Sir Wilfred Grenfell was seen returning to the harbour around 10:30 a.m., carrying a small vessel on board.

RCMP told CBC News it is standing by to assist in a land search if needed.

Coast Guard Ship rescues boat St. John's Harbour

A close-up image of a small boat on the deck of the Sir Wilfred Grenfell coast guard ship Wednesday morning. (CBC)

Police confirmed around 9 a.m. local time that the bodies had been discovered Tuesday night and search efforts are continuing to locate the remaining two fishermen.

Private fishing vessels are aiding in the rescue effort.

Air searches were stalled overnight due to poor visibility, but resumed Wednesday morning as weather conditions improved.

JRCC said the boat had been overdue since Tuesday.

Late Tuesday night, one of the coast guard vessels involved in the search returned to the base on Southside Road. It was met by two hearses, which were seen leaving the wharf more than an hour later.

More than 100 people huddled under blankets near the Fort Amherst wharf and awaited word on the missing men.

First responders searching for missing fishermen near Cape Spear0:46

A Cormorant helicopter from Gander, a Hercules aircraft from Greenwood, N.S., several fishing boats and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary have also been involved in the search.

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