Fisherman’s body found; search on for second man

Posted March 26, 2009, at 1:04 a.m.

LUBEC, Maine — Rescue personnel recovered the body of one fisherman and continued searching through the night for another in Cobscook Bay near Eastport Wednesday after reports that a 34-foot vessel from Lubec had gone down.

The U.S. Coast Guard did not immediately release the identities of the victims or the name of the vessel, but Deputy Jack Fuller of the Washington County Sheriff’s office said the recovered body was that of Loren Lank, age unknown, who had been a sternman on the missing boat.

The crew of the fishing vessel Perfect Choice reported by radio to Coast Guard Station Eastport at about 4:10 p.m. that they had come across a debris field in Johnson Bay near Lubec that contained a survival suit among other items.

The missing boat, a 34-foot blue and white fiberglass dragger, was last seen around 3 p.m. dragging for sea urchins between Leighton Point in Pembroke and Red Island, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and the Maine Marine Patrol.

Coast Guard Sector Northern New England launched a 25-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Eastport and issued an urgent marine information broadcast asking boaters in the area to help with the search, according to a press release issued by the Coast Guard.

The Maine Marine Patrol recovered the body near the debris field at 5:15 p.m., about one mile east of Eastport in Johnson Bay.

Marine Patrol Officer Russell Wright said late Wednesday that patrol officers found debris but not the boat. Wright said the Maine State Police dive team was expected to begin searching in the debris field area early Thursday morning.

The Coast Guard reported Wednesday night that a Falcon jet from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod had been diverted from a routine patrol in the area to assist with the search. A Jayhawk rescue helicopter, also from the air station, was dispatched as well as the Coast Guard Cutter Moray, an 87-foot patrol boat from Jonesport.

“We are coordinating search efforts among several Coast Guard units and with local agencies,” said Lt. Lisa Tinker, the command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “Our search patterns are based on drift models surrounding the debris field.”

As the search continued late Wednesday, the missing boat’s dinghy could still be seen on its mooring right off the marina in Lubec.

Petty Officer Etta Smith of the Coast Guard said the search would continue through the night.

On scene weather conditions Wednesday evening, as reported by the Coast Guard, had seas up to 2 feet, winds around seven miles per hour, visibility around 12 miles and the water temperature at 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is the 92nd search and rescue case this year for Coast Guard Sector Northern New England.

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