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Second Officer describes B.C. ferry sinking

VANCOUVER - A B.C. Supreme Court trial has heard visibility was good and the weather was clear for the crew of the Queen of the North on the night of a fatal crash that sank the ship.

Details about what happened on March 22, 2006 are emerging from a senior crew member who was sharing navigational duties with another officer accused of criminal negligence causing the deaths of two passengers who were presumed drowned.

Kevin Hilton, who was the Second Officer aboard the ferry, had handed off the role on the bridge to Fourth Officer Karl Lilgert shortly before the vessel missed a critical turn, struck Gil Island and capsized.

Hilton also told court he was surprised that Lilgert had returned to the bridge early from lunch, not long after his former lover Karen Bricker arrived there for her role as quartermaster.

Court has heard it was the pair's first time working alone together since their affair had ended, and the Crown claims Lilgert is responsible for the crash.

The defence argues the crash was caused by poor training, bad policies and unreliable equipment.

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