Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Men

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard has suspended the search for three fishermen in the vicinity of Stevenson, Wash., approximately 30 miles east of Vancouver, Wash., today.

The decision to suspend was only made after multiple searches over 72 river miles were conducted by a Coast Guard HH-60C Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria, a crew of Coast Guard Auxiliary members and local search and rescue partners. Dive operations were conducted by Skamania County but were unsuccessful.

Weather conditions on scene were 13 knot winds causing choppy conditions. The water in the area was 50 degrees.

Sector Portland received a call on Wednesday at noon from the Skamania County Sheriff reporting three men missing.

The three men, treaty tribal fishermen from the Yakama Nation, left Tuesday and were scheduled to return at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

A capsized unregistered tribal vessel, matching the description of the missing vessel, was found in shallow water by mile marker 155 near Stevenson, on the Columbia River.

Falls overboard are a primary cause of fatalities in the fishing industry according to Coast Guard marine casualty statistics. Wearing a life jacket dramatically improves survivability of man overboard accidents. It is unknown if the missing men were wearing life jackets.

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