Search suspended for missing person in Willapa Bay

The U.S. Coast Guard says that they and partner agencies have suspended the search efforts for a missing man in Willapa Bay.

The Coast Guard and other agencies report that they were searching for a missing man who was aboard a vessel in distress Sunday off the coast near the Willapa Bay entrance.

According to USCG, watchstanders received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon transmission Sunday at approximately 7:30 p.m. from the 46-foot crabbing vessel Ethel May near the Willapa Bay Entrance.

The Ethel May is based out of Bay Center.

Watchstanders were notified that the wife of one of the men aboard the vessel called 911 to report the emergency aboard the vessel. 

A helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria and 47- foot Motor Lifeboat crews from Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor were sent to assist the mariners in distress.

The aircrew arrived on scene and safely hoisted 2 individuals from a life raft. The survivors reported a third and final crewmember was still missing.

Both survivors were taken ashore to awaiting emergency medical services and then taken to Willapa Harbor Hospital for further evaluation.

The aircrew returned to the scene and, along with the Coast Guard boatcrew, searched the area throughout the night for the missing crewmember.

Rescue crews completed 18 different search patterns, covering 290 sq. miles during over 15-hours of searching.

The search was officially suspended at 5:30 p.m. Monday evening.

“Suspending search efforts is a tough decision that we never take lightly,” said Lt. Cmdr. Colin Fogarty, the Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator for Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “This search involved close coordination between state and local agencies. We truly appreciate their assistance, especially from Pacific County. The Coast Guard continues to speak with the family affected by this incident.”

Search crews had located debris from the vessel within Willapa Bay and the abutting waters of the pacific, indicating the vessel had broken apart.