The Coast Guard and other agencies searched Monday for a fisherman who was missing after his two crewmates were rescued from a crab boat in distress Sunday off the coast of Washington near the Willapa Bay entrance.

Watchstanders at the Thirteenth Coast Guard District in Seattle received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon transmission Sunday at approximately 7:30 p.m. from the 46-foot crabbing vessel Ethel May near the Willapa Bay Entrance.

Meanwhile watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River in Warrenton, Oregon, were notified that the wife of one of the men aboard the vessel called 911 to report an emergency aboard the vessel.

Watchstanders directed the launch of a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria and 47- foot Motor Lifeboat crews from Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor to assist the mariners in distress.

The aircrew arrived on scene at approximately 8:10 p.m. and safely hoisted two individuals from a life raft. The survivors reported a third crewmember was still missing.

Both survivors were taken ashore to awaiting emergency medical services and then taken to Willapa Harbor Hospital for further evaluation.

The aircrew returned to the scene and, along with the Coast Guard boatcrew, searched the area throughout the night for the missing crewmember.

Search crews located debris from the vessel within Willapa Bay and the abutting waters of the pacific, indicating the vessel has broken apart.

Search efforts were suspended at 5:30 p.m. Monday evening, after rescue crews completed 18 different search patterns, covering 290 sq. miles during over 15-hours of searching.

“Suspending search efforts is a tough decision that we never take lightly,” said Lt. Cmdr. Colin Fogarty, the Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator for Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “This search involved close coordination between state and local agencies. We truly appreciate their assistance, especially from Pacific County. The Coast Guard continues to speak with the family affected by this incident.”

Involved in the search were:

·       Coast Guard Air Station Astoria

·       Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor

·       Coast Guard Sector North Bend

·       Coast Guard Sector Columbia River

·       Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine and shoreside search personnel

·       Coast Guard Incident Management Personnel from Sector Columbia River searching from the shore using a side-by-side vehicle.


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