Doomed crab boat victim told friend boat's crew was 'inexperienced,' report says
Three fishermen aboard the crab boat boat Mary B II were pronounced dead after their vessel capsized off the coast of Newport, Ore., on Tuesday, officials said.
The three men killed were identified as Joshua Porter, 50, of Toledo, Ore.; James Lacy, 48, of South Toms River, N.J.; and Stephen Biernacki, 50, of Barnegat Township, N.J.
It was planned to be Porter's final voyage on the vessel, a friend told the Oregonian.
“Josh had spoken to some people on Friday that this would be his last trip on the boat and as of the 12th he had a new job lined up,” Celeste Paranto told the newspaper. “He told friends that the crew was inexperienced. Those were his words. It’s very sad. Because he was a responsible person he went out on the trip and never returned home. I’m really having a hard time with it.”
Lacy and Biernacki were new arrivals to the area and the boat was purchased recently, Taunette Dixon, president of the Newport Fishermen’s Wives group, told the newspaper.
The fatal incident occurred after the fishermen requested the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) assist them in crossing the Yaquina Bay bar shortly before 10 p.m. “due to high seas,” Oregon State Police said in a news release.
At 10:13 p.m., authorities got word that the boat “had capsized with three people onboard,” police said.
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A Coast Guard crew, which was already on the scene for an escort request, witnessed the capsizing and quickly went into search and rescue mode, Coast Guard Petty Officer Levi Read told Fox News.
The USCG Pacific Northwest tweeted about the incident as it was occurring, saying that responders were “battling 12 to 14-foot seas.” There were reports of 16 to 20-foot waves as well, Read said.
The first person was recovered around 11:20 p.m. by a Coast Guard helicopter, Read said. The individual – identified as Lacy – was taken to a hospital in Newport and pronounced dead, according to state police.
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A second deceased individual – Porter – was located on the beach, authorities said.
“The Mary B II ultimately ran aground, on the beach, near the north side of the Yaquina Bay North Jetty,” state police said. “The boat Skipper, Stephen Biernacki ... was found with the boat and pronounced deceased at the scene.”
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this report stated that the boat had been featured on the television show "The Deadliest Catch." That was later found not to be the case.