The search for a missing fisherman near Willapa Bay has ended. His body has not yet been recovered.
The Thirteenth Coast Guard District in Seattle received an Emergency Radio Beacon transmission Sunday at 7:30pm from the crabbing boat, the Ethel May, which was near the entrance to Willapa Bay. At the same time, the Coast Guard in Warrenton were notified that the wife of one of the men aboard the vessel had called 911 to report an emergency aboard the vessel.
A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Astoria took to searching for the Ethel May, along with a 47 foot Lifeboat out of Grays Harbor. It was just after 8pm when crew-members found and hoisted two individuals from a life raft. With the surviving fishermen reporting a third man was still missing. Both survivors were taken to Willapa Harbor Hospital for further evaluation. Crews returned to the air and searched the area with an additional boat-crew well into the night for the missing fisherman.
Search crews located debris from the vessel within Willapa Bay and the surrounding waters, which officials say indicates the crabbing boat had broken apart during the occurrence.
Search efforts were curtailed around 5:30pm Monday evening, after 18 different search patterns covered nearly 300 square miles over 15 hours of searching.
Dungeness crab fishing is a dangerous profession. In the West Coast US industry alone, the death toll averages 310 work related deaths per 100,000 fishermen annually. The average for other commercial fisheries is 124 deaths per 100,000 fishermen annually.
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