Families and two small communities are mourning the loss of fishermen reported overdue from hauling traps — one in Maine and one in Washington.
On Friday morning, lobsterman Wayne “Butch” Ciomei, 59, set out from Stonington, Maine, to haul traps on his 36-foot Chelsea Lynn. When he hadn’t returned by 4:30, one of his sons reported him missing to the Maine Marine Patrol.
The marine patrol called in the Coast Guard, which in turn launched a rescue boat and put a call out to boaters in the area.
Ciomei’s sons found him and his boat in Jericho Bay near Marshall Island around 5:30.
According to Maine Marine Patrol Sgt. Troy Dow, Ciomei was tangled in line. The official cause of death is yet to be determined by the state medical examiner.
Dow reported that Ciomei had called home around 11 a.m. to say he had one more string of pots to pull before heading home.
On Saturday, Dungeness crabber Kevin Soule’s wife, Heather Unruh Soule of Nahcotta, Wash., reported him overdue when he hadn’t returned home by noon as expected.
The Coast Guard searched through the night for signs of Kevin Soule and his 43-foot Dungeness boat Kelli J to no avail.
On Sunday morning, the Coast Guard responded to reports of an oil sheen and debris field in Willapa Bay. Just after noon, they called off the search for Soule.
“All searches for mariner yielded negative results,” said the Coast Guard’s 13th district via Twitter. “Search has been suspended and efforts are switching to vessel salvage/fuel recovery.”
The Kelli J was reportedly found between Oysterville Sea Farms and Bay Center near some of Soule’s traps. The recovery effort is complicated by swift currents in the bay.