HOUSTON – John Reynolds and the four others aboard the Nite Owl weren't worried when the thunderstorms made it impossible for the commercial fishing boat to return back to shore. They'd seen this kind of weather before.
They did what they normally would, tying the boat to an oil rig off the Texas Gulf Coast and going to sleep. But early Friday morning, "a rogue wave, a freak wave or something hit the side of the boat," Reynolds said.
"It just collapsed the cabin ... where the captain sleeps," he said in a telephone interview Sunday as the U.S. Coast Guard announced it was calling off the search for the other four people who were aboard the Nite Owl. "When it hit, it tore the whole top of the boat off."
The captain was sent overboard, and within two minutes, the 50-foot vessel sunk. One crew member tried to reach the captain, while Reynolds and the two others saw a life raft. Reynolds was the only one who reached it.
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National Fisherman Live: 9/9/14
In this episode:
Seafood Watch upgrades status of 21 fish species
Calif. bill attacking seafood mislabeling approved
Ballot item would protect Bristol Bay salmon
NOAA closes cod, yellowtail fishing areas
Pacific panel halves young bluefin harvest
National Fisherman Live: 8/26/14
In this episode, National Fisherman Publisher Jerry Fraser talks about his early days dragging for redfish on the Vandal.