Two Fatal Fishing Accidents in One Week off New England

The Lady Brittany reported a man-overboard on Tuesday and recovered the victim (file image courtesy NOAA)

Published Jan 24, 2020 3:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating two fatal fishing accidents in a week off the U.S. East Coast - a sinking that claimed the lives of two fishermen off Maine and a man-overboard resulting in loss of life off Nantucket.

Two fishermen were found dead in the water off the coast of Portland, Maine on Thursday after the Coast Guard responded to a distress signal from the fishing boat Hayley Ann. 

At about 1230 hours on Thursday, the USCG received an EPIRB distress signal from the Hayley Ann. Two helicopters from Air Station Cape Cod and one fixed-wing aircraft responded to the scene at a position about 45 miles off the coast of Portland. At about 1350 hours, they spotted an empty life raft and two bodies face-down in the water, according to local media. 

A good samaritan vessel, the Ella Christine, also responded to the scene. Her crew recovered the two bodies and brought them back to shore. 

Maine's Department of Marine Resources has identified the victims as skipper Arnold "Joe" Nickerson IV, 60, of Arundel, Maine and crewmember Chris Pinkham, 44, of Boothbay Harbor. 

The Community Center in Boothbay Harbor is accepting donations to support Pinkham's family. According to the center, he is survived by his wife and two daughters.

An investigation into the circumstances of the casualty is under way.  

Separately, the body of one fisherman was recovered by a fishing vessel off Nantucket on Tuesday. The fishing vessel Lady Brittany reported a man overboard at about 0500 hours at a position about 50 nm off Nantucket. The vessel was able to recover the victim, then headed for port, according to the Coast Guard. The man, a deckhand whose name has not been released, was pronounced dead upon arrival.