NEWPORT, Ore. — The search has been suspended for a fisherman lost at sea after the fishing vessel he was on sank Tuesday morning. The Coast Guard rescued three other crab fishermen who are now recovering.
The Coast Guard said it received an emergency call from the fishing boat Sound Leader. The ship was about two and a half miles west of Newport near Yaquina Head.
After several failed attempts to reach the crew, the Coast Guard launched a lifeboat and helicopter to aid the fishermen.
Guardsmen spotted a debris field near Yaquina Head and found three people in the water.
“It’s tragic. It’s like any other tragedy. You’re never happy to hear about it,” said Thor Captain John King.
The Coast Guard said the fisherman were there, treading water, for about three hours.
Only one had a life jacket. The others got resourceful; one made his pants into a flotation device, and the other hung onto a wooden box.
A fourth crew member is still missing.
“Going to tear up here, I guess, but a lot of times when you hear that, and especially if it’s somebody that you know, usually you just about want to start crying,” said Valor III Captain Dan Glissendorf.
The fishermen said their life raft didn’t function properly and got dragged down with the boat. The three men also told the Coast Guard the missing fisherman didn’t know how to swim.
“Upset of course, you know I felt sad,” said fisherman Nick Dixon.
“It’s a tragedy. I know the boat. I knew all four of the people that were on the boat. And it’s just sad. That’s about all I can say about it,” King said.
Guardsmen spent hours searching for the missing fisherman, but suspended the search late Tuesday afternoon.
Many said they know the missing fisherman, and they aren’t giving up on hoping he’ll be found safe and alive.
“He’s always happy, you know. He always had this smile on his face no matter what, no matter what was going on,” Dixon said.
The fishermen KEZI 9 News spoke with Tuesday said this is just another reminder of how important it is for everyone on the boat to know where the safety gear is, how to use it and exactly what to do in case of an emergency.