A good Samaritan aboard the Foxy Lady notified watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Boston command center at about 3 p.m. that the fishing boat Orin C was disabled and needed a tow.
The Foxy Lady began towing Orin C toward shore, but high wind and waves impeded their effort. A large wave reportedly crashed over Orin C’s bow, causing the boat to flood.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Boston, who had been monitoring the tow on VHF radio, launched a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Coast Guard Station Gloucester.
The crew arrived on scene, passed a pump to the Orin C crew, hooked up tow, and made way toward Gloucester against 30 knot winds and 8-foot seas.
While initially effective, the pump was eventually unable to keep up with flooding coming over the boat’s bow and it began sinking quickly.
Per protocol, the Coast Guard crew broke tow and maneuvered swiftly back toward Orin C for the three fishermen.
The plan for safest rescue from the boat was to have each crewmember enter the water and be recovered one at a time. The first rescue went as planned, but the boat began sinking too quickly so the remaining two crewmembers abandoned the boat together.
When the boat crew recovered the two men, one of them was unresponsive. They began CPR immediately, and continued for more than an hour, while they pushed toward shore.
They arrived at Gloucester at about 10:30 p.m., where local EMS and a medical examiner were awaiting their arrival, and pronounced the man dead.
The other two men were reported uninjured.
“We’re reminded tonight how dangerous and unforgiving the sea can be,” said Chief Petty Officer Stephen Veda, the command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Boston. “This is a tragic end to a very harrowing case – the effects of which will be felt throughout the entire maritime community for some time,” he said.
The Coast Guard is broadcasting a safety notice to mariners navigating in the vicinity of where Orin C is thought to have sunk.
The cause of the sinking is under investigation.