Deaths of those lost at sea are perhaps the hardest of all for families and loved ones to accept because there is no resolution. There is no way to know with 100% certainty that the overboard crewmember is deceased and not alive and adrift in the vast, treacherous waters, praying for a miraculous rescue.
Last month, that was the scenario near Grays Harbor along the Washington coastline when a 47-year-old halibut fisherman fell off the vessel and was presumed lost at sea.
Search suspended for missing crewman
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) initiated a sea and air search for the man as soon as they were notified of the situation. According to their reports, the seaman was discovered missing roughly 28 miles northwest of Washington’s Grays Harbor. He had been on a 26-foot fishing vessel catching halibut when he was discovered missing by crew members around 12:30 p.m. on May 13.
The search for the Oregon City fisherman included a Coast Guard Cutter vessel, MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, a 47-foot lifeboat and an HC-27 Spartan airplane. After 22 hours and 18 grid searches, the USCG ended its search efforts. The 13th Coast Guard District’s chief of incident management stated, “The decision to suspend a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make. We offer our deepest sympathies to the family of [the victim] in this difficult time.”
Maritime wrongful death litigation can help bring closure
To be sure, there can never be a sufficient amount of money that can replace the loss of a beloved son, daughter, spouse or parent to a watery grave. But seeking compensation can at least help ease survivors’ financial burdens and bring them some small measure of comfort and closure.