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The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for the crew of the fishing vessel Lady Cecelia at 9:44 a.m., Sunday.
The Coast Guard response effort for the crew began after the vessel’s emergency beacon (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) was activated at 3:37 a.m., Saturday. The beacon 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 and Station Cape Dissapointment. Additionally, an HC-130H Hercules aircraft crew, from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, California, and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, responded.
Several Coast Guard assets conducted multiple search patterns in an area of more than 640 square miles. The USCGC Fir continued to search overnight and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew conducted a first-light search on Sunday.
Missing and presumed lost at sea are the local crew members David Nichols, 43, from Warrenton; Jason Bjaranson, 38, from Warrenton; Luke Jensen, 19, from Ilwaco, Washington and fisheries observer Chris Langel, 25, from Kaukauna, Wisconsin.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) deploys fishery
observers to collect catch and bycatch data from US commercial fishing and processing vessels. Observers monitor fishing activities on all US coasts, collecting data for a range of conservation and management issues. According to the NOAA website NOAA Fisheries coordinates observer program management through its Office of Science and Technology/National Observer Program (NOP). The NOP seeks to support observer programs and increase their usefulness to the overall goals of NOAA Fisheries. Improvements in data collection, observer training, and the integration of observer data with other research are among the important issues that the NOP works to achieve on a national level.