Crab Fishermen Drown in California After Boat Capsizes


On the opening day of Dungeness Crab Season, 200 boats set out to make a big catch, but, unfortunately one boat did not return as a large wave caused the boat to capsize, leaving the crab fishermen of California who were on the boat to drown. Five men set out on the boat early that morning but a large wave took control of the vessel, causing it to turn over, acc0rding to the survivor. One man was able to make it to shore and cling to rocks until a California Highway Patrol helicopter came to his rescue. The man reported to the authorities around 10 a.m., what a 9-1-1 call already gave suspicion to, that the boat had been washed over.

It was an unfortunate event in California as one boat set out on Saturday to catch crab on the opening day of crab season and soon became one of the biggest tragedies to hit the Bodega Bay, California fishing industry, in many years. The 32 foot vessel was apparently returning, according to the survivor, when a large wave turned the boat over, leaving the four men and one woman in the ocean. The victims were identified as 79-year-old Jessie Langley, 60-year-old David Costa, and 86-year-old Samuel Garcia. The woman’s information has not yet been released, awaiting notification to the family. The survivor, 66-year-old Philip Sanchez helped the Coast Guard find the location of the sunken boat off of the California Coast and the bodies were quickly retrieved.

The worst part of the accident, according to authorities is the fact that none of the fishermen on the boat were wearing their life jackets, as they were supposed to. With this information police stressed the importance of wearing a life jacket while out to sea, as they stated that the victims may have been able to survive until help arrived if they had been wearing them. Police are currently investigating the situation to determine why the accident occurred. Many fellow fishermen, who were also off the coast of Bodega Bay, California, took a break from trying to make their big catch to say nice things about the victims. According to sources, and statements made by the other fishermen, the crab fishermen, who were at the mercy of the large wave, were well known and liked.

The normal daily average of boats that are out in the same bay is anywhere between 12 and 30 vessels. Crab fishermen work very hard to make their living and are often out in the waters for days at a time. With this accident the Coast Guard and authorities in the area are pushing hard to remind all crab fishermen to wear their life jackets and remember to follow all safety protocol. The wave that hit the victim’s boat tragically claimed their lives, but authorities are hoping that there will not be anymore accidents anywhere in the near future if they can continue to work to keep boats and their passengers safe while out in the water. Senior chief petty officer of the Coast Guard, Aaron Bretz, stated that Pacific waters in that area are known for having dangerous and large waves in the fall and winter months. He stated, according to Coast Guard statistics, that 84 percent of boat passengers who drown in the U.S. waterways were not wearing a life jacket.

As California fishermen work to recover from this unfortunate loss of fellow crab fishermen, police are watching the waters to help guarantee the safety of all others. Bretz recent statements reflect that there is not much security in the Bodega Bay, California area. He said the area was “not protected water.” As four crab fisherman drowned in California on opening day of crab season, many fishermen are a bit startled. Authorities are still working to combat their fears.

By Crystal Boulware


ABC News Channel 7
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The Wall Street Journal

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