Man missing off LaPush presumed dead, Coast Guard calls off search

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

LaPUSH — Coast Guard rescue crews have called off the search for a commercial fisherman who went missing after the fishing vessel he was on sank off the coast of LaPush Friday morning, a Coast Guard spokesman said today.

A Coast Guard helicopter based at Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles on Ediz Hook conducted the last search of the missing man today, said Petty Officer Nathan Bradshaw, Coast Guard spokesman in Seattle.

Based on the circumstances of the sinking and the amount of time the missing man has been in the water, Coast Guard officials are considering the
man deceased, Bradshaw said.

The Coast Guard has not released his name.

The missing man was one of four crew members on the 40-foot commercial fishing vessel Maverick, which sank early Friday morning following a collision with the 90-foot fishing vessel Viking Storm roughly 30 miles off the coast of LaPush.

The crew aboard the 90-foot vessel was able to rescue three of the four crewmen of the Maverick.

A Coast Guard motor lifeboat transferred the three survivors, described as in good condition Saturday, from a Coast Guard cutter on the scene of the collision to the Coast Guard slip at the Quileute Harbor Marina in LaPush, Bradshaw said.

The owner of the Maverick, Port Angeles resident Darby Dickerson, was one of the three crewman who survived the collision, said Gene Harrison, the assistant harbor master at the Quileute Harbor Marina, where the survivors were dropped off by the Coast Guard at about 4 p.m. Friday.
Harrison's brother-in-law also fished on the Maverick and was also returned safely to LaPush, Harrison said.

Harrison also knows the missing man, but would not confirm any more details about him until the Coast Guard releases his name.

Harrison did say, however, that he could tell as soon as he saw Dickerson’s face how emotionally trying the wreck was.

Harrison said the rescued crew members were welcomed with warm embraces from a gathered crowd of people when they arrived at the Quileute Harbor Marina on Friday.

“I just stopped [Dickerson] in his tracks and gave him a hug,” Harrison said.

Harrison said Dickerson has fished out of Quileute Harbor for years.

Harrison was not familiar with the crew of the 90-foot fishing vessel Viking Storm involved in the collision or the boat itself.

Bradshaw could not say what might have caused the boats to collide, but said the Coast Guard will conduct an investigation of the incident.

Bradshaw said it is now up to a state or local agencies to conduct a search for the remains of the missing man.
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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 29. 2012 1:59PM
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