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3 Crew Members Tragically Killed When Crab Boat Capsizes in Yaquina Bay Off Newport, Oregon Coast

A commercial crab boat capsized off the coast of Newport, Oregon, Tuesday night, tragically killing all three crew members aboard.

Mary B. II Crossing Yaquina Bay Bar When It Capsized

The U.S. Coast Guard was escorting the Mary B. II across the Yaquina Bay bar in rough seas on January 8th, when it suddenly overturned shortly after 10:00 p.m.

Although immediate attempts were made to rescue its crew, those efforts were hampered by 12-to-14-foot seas and waves that occasionally rose as high as 20 feet.

A Coast Guard helicopter was able to reach a 48-year-old man from South Tom’s River, New Jersey, more than an hour after the boat capsized. The rescue came too late, however, and he was  pronounced dead at a Newport hospital.

Treacherous Yaquina Bay Bar Featured on “Deadliest Catch” Series

Early reports erroneously identified the Mary B. II as one of the commercial crab boats featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove”.

Although the network has since confirmed that neither the vessel or its crew appeared on the program, “Dungeon Cove” did highlight the dangers fully-loaded crab boats face while crossing the notoriously treacherous Yaquina Bay bar.

Sadly, maritime tragedies have become all too common in Newport, where a granite memorial at Yaquina Bay lists the names of over 100 local fishermen lost at sea during the past century.

“It happens frequently enough that we actually have funds that help families during this time,” Taunette Dixon, president of the nonprofit Newport Fishermen’s Wives, told the Associated Press. “We fundraise all year long, and we try to help them as much as we can.”

Crew Did Not Seek Assistance, Despite Poor Conditions

As conditions worsened Tuesday night, the U.S. Coast Guard decided to escort returning fishing boats into Yaquina Bay.

The Mary B. II was sighted on the horizon shortly before 10:00 p.m. The crew, however, failed to answer the radio.

““We did some detective work and found a way to reach them. They said they were coming back and were not asking for assistance, but we decided to be proactive,” Commanding Officer Thomas Molloy told The Oregonian.

Apparently, the crew told Coast Guard personnel the Mary B. II could make 7 knots, or roughly 8 mph. According to Molloy, however, the boat never made it above 2 knots.

“We got close to the entrance. I began calling and telling them they were lining up too far north — we call them the dumping grounds,” he continued. “Most fishermen here know to avoid them.”

After it failed to come starboard in time, the Mary B. II was swamped when a wave washed over the pilot house. According to Molloy, the vessel was thrown around a jetty and onto the beach.

Inexperienced Crew Concerned Veteran Fisherman

The New Jersey men who died Tuesday night were new to the area and had only recently purchased the Mary B. II. The third crew member, however, was a veteran fisherman well-known throughout Newport.

According to The Oregonian, he planned to leave the Mary B. II at the end of its doomed voyage because of concerns over its crew.

“He told friends that the crew was inexperienced,” one woman said. “Those were his words. It’s very sad. Because he was a responsible person he went out on the trip and never returned home. I’m really having a hard time with it.”

Contact Our Undefeated Maritime Lawyers for a Free Consult at 1-888-603-3636 or by Clicking Here.

Our Undefeated Maritime Lawyers are investigating the tragic capsizing of the Mary B. II off the coast of Oregon, and will post updates as new information is made available.

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