Coast Guard suspends search for crab fisherman near Humboldt Bay

Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter File Photo

Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay MH-65 Dolphin helicopter File Photo

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. — The Coast Guard suspended its search Sunday for a Dungeness crab fisherman who fell overboard from the 47-foot commercial fishing vessel Chief Joseph approximately eight miles west of the South Spit in Humboldt Bay.

The suspension comes after Coast Guard crews from Station Humboldt Bay, Air Station Humboldt Bay and Air Station Sacramento conducted an 11-hour search that covered almost 700 square miles.

“It is with a heavy heart the Coast Guard makes the decision to suspend a search-and-rescue case,” said Capt. Greg Fuller, the Sector Humboldt Bay commander. “We extend our deepest condolences to this man’s loved ones and the entire fishing community.”

Two crewmembers aboard the Chief Joseph reportedly fell overboard while attending to crab pots around 1:10 a.m. The vessel captain was able to pull one person back aboard but could not see the other fisherman. The man who was retrieved had no reported injuries.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay was first on scene at 1:50 a.m., followed by a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Coast Guard Station Humboldt Bay. A C-27 Spartan fixed-wing aircraft crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento arrived an hour later, and the crews searched the area continuously until the case was suspended at approximately 1:15 p.m.

The on-scene weather at the beginning of the search consisted of 53-degree air and 52-degree water temperatures.

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