June 23, 2018
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Search continues for missing Deer Isle fishermen

Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard
Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard
By Mario Moretto, BDN Staff

DEER ISLE, Maine — The Coast Guard is continuing its search for two Deer Isle fishermen who went missing Saturday north of Provincetown, Mass.

Missing is the Foxy Lady II, a 45-foot scallop-fishing vessel with a home port in Gloucester, Mass., that is operated by a team of fishermen from Deer Isle. The boat is registered to Foxy Lady Inc., which holds a federal scallop fishing license for deep-sea dragging.

Several sources confirm that on the boat are Capt. Wallace “Chubby” Gray Jr., 26, and Wayne Young, 50, both of Deer Isle. When reached by phone at his home in Deer Isle on Tuesday, Wallace Gray Sr., who usually captains the vessel, declined comment.

Coast Guard Sector Boston received a call around 8 a.m. Monday from the captain’s girlfriend, who said the boat had not returned as planned Saturday night. The Foxy Lady II had departed Saturday morning.

The boat’s last known location was 15 miles north of Provincetown, Mass., on Cape Cod.

Coast Guard cutters searched Monday night and continued searching Tuesday morning, according to a news release. Over more than a 24-hour period, the search effort covered more than 360 square miles, the Coast Guard said at about noon.

Simpson said conditions near where the boat went missing were rough Tuesday morning: 8- to 10-foot waves, low visibility and gales up to 20 knots. The National Weather Service in Taunton has declared a small craft advisory for the area until late Tuesday night.

A Coast Guard helicopter and jet were on standby until weather conditions improve.

Petty Officer Robert Simpson of the Coast Guard said Tuesday that a search and rescue team was still looking for the missing Foxy Lady II. He said there was no set time frame for when the search may be called off if the boat isn’t found.

“Every case is different,” he said. “I can’t say there’s a cut-and-dry answer to how long we’ll search. It all depends on the type of vessels, water temps, air temps, survivability models.”

The Rev. Stephen York of Stonington United Methodist Church organized a vigil for the missing fishermen Monday night at the Stonington town pier. About 50 people gathered, he said, to light candles, recite Psalms and pray for the missing men’s safety.

State Rep. Walter Kumiega III, D-Deer Isle, said the island community is anxiously awaiting any news of its missing sons. He said he had met the Grays and Young before, but they weren’t close. Still, the news hits close to home.

“We’re a small community, so it’s really personal, even if you don’t know them real well,” he said. People are trying to remain hopeful, but “it’s hard, because every minute they’re out there, the chance of them being found OK is worse.”

Kumiega praised the Coast Guard for its efforts to locate the missing fishermen, three days after they went missing.

“The Coast Guard is awesome, and it’s great they’re out there making the effort,” he said. “I know that’s really appreciated by the community.”

Anyone with information is requested to call Coast Guard Sector Boston at 617-223-3201 or by radio on VHF channel 16.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained two errors. The reverend at Stonington United Methodist Church is Stephen York, not Stephen Young. The story also listed Capt. Wallace “Chubby” Gray Jr.'s age as 25. He is actually 26.

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