2 urchin fishermen still missing; boat believed sunk

Posted Oct. 23, 2009, at 8:42 p.m.

EASTPORT, Maine — The bodies of two urchin fishermen, missing since Tuesday, had not been found as of late Friday afternoon, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The three-man crew of the 34-foot commercial fishing vessel Bottom Basher were reported overdue Tuesday night, triggering a search by the Coast Guard, Maine Marine Patrol and others in and around Cobscook Bay.

The body of crew man Darryl Cline of Machiasport was recovered Wednesday about 50 feet from Shackford Head in Eastport. Still missing are Joseph Jones, the boat’s owner from Trescott, and Norman Johnson of Cutler.

A debris field and oil slick found by the Coast Guard indicated the Bottom Basher sank just off Falls Island in Johnson Bay sometime Tuesday. Other urchin fishermen speculated that the boat’s drag net snagged on an underwater obstruction such as ledge or rocks and flipped the boat.

The formal search was suspended at nightfall Thursday.

The Coast Guard said the search for the three men lasted for about 52 hours and covered a search area of about 104 square miles from Tuesday night until Thursday evening.

U.S. Coast Guard Capt. James McPherson, commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England out of Portland, said debris found in the bay would be used to investigate what caused the Bottom Basher to break up and sink.

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