Two Missing After Fishing Crew Abandons Ship off Cape Flattery

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File image courtesy IATTC

Published Aug 11, 2020 2:20 PM by The Maritime Executive

A U.S. Coast Guard aircrew rescued one fisherman from a lifeboat early Tuesday morning after a commercial fishing boat began to take on water about 85 miles off Cape Flattery, Washington.

Multiple Coast Guard units received a VHF mayday call at about 0200 hours Tuesday from a crewmember aboard the Canadian commercial fishing vessel Arctic Fox II, who reported that the vessel was taking on water and that the three people aboard planned to abandon ship. The fisherman who hailed for help reported they were wearing survival suits. 

A Jayhawk SAR helicopter crew based in Astoria, Oregon and a Spartan medium-range search plane based in Sacramento, California deployed to the northwestern tip of Washington State to search for the fishermen. Once on scene, the aircrews quickly spotted a lifeboat with one survivor inside, and the helicopter crew hoisted him aboard. 

Canadian search and rescue aircrews from Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria are expected to join the search effort for the remaining two fishermen later on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Arctic Fox II is a Scottish-built troller/seine net fishing vessel constructed in 1947 and flagged in Canada. She made an appearance in a 1997 sequel in the "Free Willy" series, according to FishingNews UK. A recent sales listing indicates that the wooden-hulled boat had a refit in 2017, with caulking and fastening redone in 2003.