EASTPORT, Maine — Three fishermen whose vessel hit a submerged object and quickly began to sink in Cobscook Bay on Saturday afternoon escaped injury when a nearby boat heard the distress call and responded.
Chad Eakin, boson 2nd mate with the U.S. Coast Guard station in Eastport, said Capt. William Feltner Jr. of the fishing vessel Miss Priss and his two crewmates, Carl Sizemore and Evan Matthews, were out dragging for fish on Saturday. Around 1 p.m., the vessel struck an object in the water — most likely a large rock, Eakin said — and quickly began taking on water.
The three men abandoned the boat immediately and were picked up by the crew of the fishing vessel Nasty Too, which also was fishing nearby in an area known as Reversing Falls.
“There is a lot of current in that area,” Eakin said. “We get a lot of calls to that spot.”
The Coast Guard station in Eastport responded with a 41-foot utility boat and crew, but by the time it arrived, everyone aboard the Miss Priss was safe and the boat was entirely submerged. Maine Marine Patrol also assisted.
“Fortunately the fishing vessel Nasty Too was in the area,” said Chief Warrant Officer Bob Albert, command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “Their availability prevented three people from going in the water.”
The Miss Priss had approximately 150 to 200 gallons of diesel fuel on board when it sank, according to the Coast Guard. Eakin said the area has been and will continue to be monitored for signs of pollution.
“We haven’t seen any sheen yet,” he said Sunday afternoon.
Eakin said that as far as he’s concerned, the vessel has sunk and will not be retrieved.
Attempts to reach Feltner on Sunday were not successful. The Coast Guard officials did not know the hometowns of the three fishermen.
The treacherous waters of Cobscook Bay have been particularly brutal to Down East fishermen in the last year.
In December 2008, Kristopher Fergerson, 27, of Lubec, drowned while harvesting periwinkles near Lubec.
In March 2009, the fishing vessel All American sank in Cobscook Bay. The body of Capt. Loren Lank, 53, of Lubec, was recovered and deckhand Logan Preston, 19, of Roque Bluffs is presumed dead even though his body has not been found.
In October 2009, the fishing vessel Bottom Basher sank with three men on board. Two bodies have been recovered, one of which was Daryl Cline, 41, of Machiasport and the other was Norman Johnson, 57, of Machiasport.
In November, Arthur “Skip” Calder, 51, of Perry, drowned while clamming in East Bay. His body was found a week later in Pattangal Cove.