An unbearably sad and horrifying press release just came in from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office. There's obviously some questions to ask, as you'll see, but here's the news as it stands:
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office received a report of a missing person early this morning after two men said a shipmate had fallen overboard while they were fishing. At about 2:30 a.m. a deputy was sent to Woodley Island Marina where Carroll Richard Johnson reported he and his two deckhands had been bottom fishing approximately 16 miles offshore.
Johnson said one of his deckhands, David Burns Morgan, 48 of Eureka, had fallen overboard at about 10:45 p.m. (Tuesday). Johnson reportedly threw a life preserver to Morgan but then saw Morgan slip under water. Johnson said he stayed at the scene for about five minutes before deciding to return to Humboldt Bay.
The trip back to the bay took several hours. Johnson indicated that during that time the boat's radio had been disabled by a rogue wave and his cellular telephone did not have a signal. Once the boat returned to the bay, the two remaining men off-loaded their fish and then called 411 to get a telephone number for the US Coast Guard. At about 2:00 a.m. Johnson was able to contact the Coast Guard; the Sheriff's Office then took the initial missing person's report. The US Coast Guard is conducting the follow-up investigation.