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Coast Guard rescue helicopters have found a debris field, an oil sheen and a damaged lifeboat, but no sign of, reportedly, four people who disappeared on a fishing vessel off the Washington state coast.
The Coast Guard are searching for the four people in the water near Seaview. Reportedly looking for three crew members and a government agency official tasked with watching the fish being caught.
The activated distress signal from the 70-foot Lady Cecelia, which departed from Warrenton, led Coast Guard responders to a debris field approximately 17 miles west of Leadbetter Point near Willapa Bay. A life raft was located near the debris field, but no one was on board.
The Coast Guard responded with an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Sector Columbia River, as well as two 47-foot motor lifeboat crews from Station Grays Harbor, Wash., and Station Cape Dissapointment, Wash. Additionally, an HC-130H Hercules aircraft crew, from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, Calif., and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., responded.
Unconfirmed by authorities, but local families claim two of those missing have been identified as David Nichols and Jay Bjaranson. Nichols’ family has asked for prayers for his safe return. He was last heard from approximately 10 miles out and headed to port with a full load of catch. Bjaranson’s brother, Portland Trail Blazers TV Host Adam Bjaranson, tweeted earlier today, “Please keep my brother Jay in your prayers. Is lost at sea with 3 crew members after boat went down overnight.”
The USCGC Fir is on scene and will search throughout the night. The Coast Guard units have conducted multiple search patterns in an area of more than 640 square miles.
Updated with further information regarding Coast Guard response at 1 am, Sunday, March 11.