Three fishermen died after their boat capsized near Yaquina Bay in the Newport area, according to the Coast Guard. The boat was crossing the Yaquina Bar in high seas.
Due to the hazardous seas, the Coast Guard was called to escort the 42-foot Mary B II at around 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8. As Coast Guard personnel arrived around 15 minutes later they found the vessel had capsized. The boat hit waves as high as 14 feet.
A Coast Guard spokesperson said a helicopter crew recovered one fisherman’s body from the water and another was washed ashore. The third fisherman's body remained on the capsized boat. Oregon State Police was charged with recovering the final body, according to the Coast Guard spokesperson.
A press release from Oregon State Police (OSP) said James Lacey, 48, of South Toms River, New Jersey was recovered by helicopter and taken to Pacific Communities Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
OSP said Newport Fire Department personnel found the body of Joshua Porter, 50, of Toledo, Oregon on the beach in the Nye Beach area.
The Mary B II later ran aground on the north side of the beach near the Yaquina Bay Jetty. The skipper of the boat, Stephen Biernacki, 50, of Barnegat Township, New Jersey was found dead with the boat, according to OSP.
Crowd funding memorial pages were established for two of the dead men. On Porter’s page, his brother-in-law said the fisherman left behind a loving wife, Denise, and a family. Porter was reportedly the sole financial supporter for his family, working as a fisherman and as a logger in the off-season.
“He was a 12-year recovering addict and champion of Narcotics Anonymous, traveling to attend conferences and mentoring countless people in recovery,” the post read. “The outpouring of love and support has been immeasurable and we want to thank you for your generosity as we struggle to find a way to move forward with such a tragic loss.”
On Lacey’s page, he was described as working one of the hardest jobs in the world. “He wouldn’t have it any other way,” the post read. “He spent most of his life working the oceans in all kinds of weather, and often said he'd seen the worst of this planet while fishing, but also the most glorious moments: sunrise, calm winds, sunsets, and nights with more stars in the sky that you could imagine.”
Lacey’s family is raising money to see his remains returned to the East Coast to be laid to rest. Beyond that cost, any funds raised will be donated to charitable causes that support the families of fishermen lost at sea, according to the post.
The Lincoln City News Guard contributed to this report