MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. — The Coast Guard suspended its search Sunday for a Dungeness crab fisherman who fell overboard from the 47-foot commercial fishing vessel Chief Joseph approximately eight miles west of the South Spit in Humboldt Bay.
The suspension comes after Coast Guard crews from Station Humboldt Bay, Air Station Humboldt Bay and Air Station Sacramento conducted an 11-hour search that covered almost 700 square miles.
“It is with a heavy heart the Coast Guard makes the decision to suspend a search-and-rescue case,” said Capt. Greg Fuller, the Sector Humboldt Bay commander. “We extend our deepest condolences to this man’s loved ones and the entire fishing community.”
Two crewmembers aboard the Chief Joseph reportedly fell overboard while attending to crab pots around 1:10 a.m. The vessel captain was able to pull one person back aboard but could not see the other fisherman. The man who was retrieved had no reported injuries.
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Humboldt Bay was first on scene at 1:50 a.m., followed by a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Station Humboldt Bay. A C-27 Spartan fixed-wing aircraft crew from Air Station Sacramento arrived an hour later, and the crews searched the area continuously until the case was suspended at approximately 1:15 p.m.
The on-scene weather at the beginning of the search consisted of 53-degree air and 52-degree water temperatures.
MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. — The Coast Guard aided three fishermen in distress after the engine room on their vessel began flooding near Humboldt Bay, Saturday.
A good Samaritan issued a mayday Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders via VHF-FM channel 16 around 10 a.m., reporting that the commercial fishing vessel Gerry B was taking on water and had no electrical power or communications eight miles south of the Humboldt jetties.
The fishermen were reportedly donning life jackets and preparing to abandon ship.
A Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was airborne on a training flight in the area and diverted to the scene. A Coast Guard Station Humboldt Bay 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew also launched in response.
The Dolphin crew located the vessel and lowered a radio to establish communications. The crew then circled overhead and helped direct the Motor Lifeboat crew to the vessel through a fog bank.
The boat crew delivered a dewatering pump and transferred Coast Guard crewmembers onto the Gerry B to help dewater the vessel. Once the flooding was controlled, the Motor Lifeboat crew escorted the Gerry B to Woodley Island Marina in Eureka.
“Thanks to the help of a good Samaritan, our crews were able to assist these fishermen by air and by sea,” said Capt. Greg Fuller, the Sector Humboldt Bay commander. “Other boaters can be the eyes and ears of the Coast Guard, so it’s great to see the fishing community look out for each other."
The crew of the Gerry B was reportedly Dungeness crab fishing at the time of emergency.
The Coast Guard reminds commercial fishermen to ensure they have all appropriate lifesaving equipment aboard prior to getting underway. Safety requirements can be found at www.fishsafewest.info. For a list of additional safety suggestions, visit www.uscgboating.org.