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Hand on doomed Oregon ship texted, called wife before death

Toxicology tests show the ship's captain, Stephen Biernacki, had methamphetamine and alcohol in his system when he died.

Posted: May 15, 2019 3:03 PM
Updated: May 15, 2019 3:04 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A crew member on a doomed Oregon crabbing vessel that sank in rough seas, killing all three aboard, sent desperate texts and told his wife he was putting on his life vest in the final moments before he was tossed overboard.

Joshua Porter's wife gave tearful testimony Wednesday about those texts and a call with her husband during a U.S. Coast Guard hearing into the Jan. 8 shipwreck off the Oregon coast.

Toxicology tests show the ship's captain, Stephen Biernacki, had methamphetamine and alcohol in his system when he died.

Biernacki had moved from New Jersey and purchased the Mary B II for the Oregon Dungeness crab season.

Denise Porter says her husband told her Biernacki ignored his warnings about the developing weather and stayed out to catch more crabs.

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