Sequim man dies after boat capsizes; two others rescued

NEAH BAY — A 58-year-old Sequim man has died after the boat he was fishing on was struck by a wave and capsized near Tatoosh Island, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said.

Jay Radtke was pronounced dead upon arrival Friday at Coast Guard Station Neah Bay, Sheriff’s Sgt. Shaun Minks said.

Two other men who were in the small vessel when it capsized were rescued by Good Samaritans, said Coast Guard Petty Officer First Class Levi Read, an agency spokesman.

The other fishermen, William Lee and Harold Fowler, were treated by medics at the Coast Guard station. Officials with the Sheriff’s Office could not confirm Lee and Fowler’s ages or places of residence.

The three men were halibut fishing when the small, unnamed vessel was hit by a large wave and capsized at about 4:52 p.m.

“It sounds like the wave hit the boat at a bad angle,” Minks said Saturday.

The wave flooded the boat, pushed it against the rocks on Tatoosh Island and dragged it back to sea.

“It was a Good Samaritan vessel that actually rescued the two people,” Read said.

Radtke was found unresponsive in the water.

Coast Guard crews performed CPR on Radtke as he was taken to Neah Bay on the 87-foot cutter Adelie. His next of kin has been notified, Minks said.

Minks and Read said they did not know whether the men were wearing life jackets.

It was unknown how long the men were in water.

The water temperature at Neah Bay was 53.2 degrees Saturday, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration observations.

The vessel that the three men were fishing in was less than 20 feet long, Read said.

The boat sank between Tatoosh Island and Cape Flattery, Clallam County Chief Criminal Deputy Sheriff Brian King said.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit was investigating.

Read reminded boaters to wear life jackets and to use caution.

“It’s been a long winter,” Read said. “We need people to be as careful as they can be out there.

“The water is still very cold,” he added.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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