Tag Archives: F/V Ethel May

Crossing the perilous Willapa Bay bar holds a steep cost

To reach the ocean crabbing grounds from this Southwest Washington community, Mike Green must navigate his boat through the seas that churn across the mouth of Willapa Bay. Through the years, the 69-year-old Green has had some close calls. Waves once shattered the wheelhouse windows of his boat, the 52-foot Mi Lana. This winter, he suffered a far more grievous loss. His grandson, Bryson Fitch, 24, went missing Feb. 5 after the vessel he was working on, the Ethel May,  capsized in an attempt to cross the mouth of the bay. Fitch’s loss was a sledgehammer blow to his family and a community of some 250 people with an economy long tied to shellfish. 11 photos, >click to read< 11:03

Drone scours half of WA coast in search of missing fisherman

A drone with a camera last weekend flew over 109 miles of Pacific coastline, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the Quinault Indian Reservation, but found no sign of Bryson Fitch, the missing crab fisherman who was lost at sea almost one month ago when his vessel capsized near Willapa Bay. Since then, meticulous beachcombing efforts by the Willapa Bay community have discovered parts of the F/V Ethel May, including the hull, stern, wheelhouse and other miscellaneous equipment, on beaches from Long Beach to Westport, but Fitch has yet to be found. Drone images from the most recent search revealed similar pieces from the broken fishing vessel, but most had already been discovered, according to drone pilot John Jones. >click to read< 11:40

Family of missing Washington crab fisherman pushes for mandatory personal locator beacons

It has now been more than three weeks since Bryson Fitch, a 23-year-old Washington father of three went missing at sea after the crabbing boat he was working on started to sink. As his family continues scouring the beaches near Willipa Bay searching for him, his mother-in-law is hoping to bring awareness to the federal maritime laws regarding wearable locator devices. She believes a change in that law may have prevented her family’s heart-wrenching loss. “If they would have showed up — when they rescued those two guys — and he had a beacon on his belt, they would have found him,” said Briee Roby, Fitch’s mother-in-law. Video, >click to read<  13:00

Southwest Washington family continues search for missing crab fisherman

Two weeks ago, a fisherman from Bay Center was lost at sea when the crabbing boat he was working on started to sink. Since then, Washingtonians have shown up in droves to help his loved ones search the area in Pacific County. Unfortunately, Bryson Fitch, 23, has still not been found, according to his sister Kelsea Broddy. “We still would love to bring him home, no matter what the condition is,” Broddy said. “That’s just our main goal, is to find him, so we have answers.” Fitch is both a beloved husband and a father of three young children. The boat he was working on, the Ethel May, capsized on Feb. 5 due to rough sea conditions. He reached for the life raft, and he and his two crewmates struggled to get on. Video, >click to read< 11:18

Crab fishermen weather a bruising season

It was a dream season for Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery last year. Fishing began on the traditional Dec. 1 opener for the first time in years. Domoic acid, a marine toxin that has hampered the valuable commercial fishery time and again in recent years, was almost nowhere to be seen in Oregon or Washington state waters. “Last season, everything that could go right went right,” said Tim Novotny, executive director of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission. “And this year — I don’t know if it’s been completely the opposite, but it’s been close.” >click to read< 07:22

Community determined to find missing fisherman

More than one week has lapsed since the fishing vessel Ethel May capsized near Willapa Bay and left one crew member missing on Feb. 5, but the man still hasn’t been found despite a growing effort to do so by the community and Pacific County officials. The search is for Bryson Fitch, 25, crab fisherman, husband, and father of three young children. An outpouring of support for the family of Fitch, and for the effort to find him, has swept the community since the F/V Ethel May capsized. “There is a huge community support and volunteers all over the county,” said Pacific County Sheriff Daniel Garcia on Friday in an interview. “There are some combing the beaches on foot, there are some flying drones, there are some who have their personal boats that are searching areas and coastlines.” Photos, >click to read< 14:55

County, community continues search for missing fisherman

After the U.S. Coast Guard suspended the official search for the missing fisherman from the Ethel May, a fishing vessel that capsized Sunday evening, local agencies and community members continued to scour Willapa Bay for signs of the lost man. On Facebook Tuesday morning, Pacific County Sheriff’s Office said it was searching for a man named Bryson Fitch. Fitch, 25, a longtime fisherman, husband and father of three young children, remained missing after the 46-foot crab boat Ethel May sank in heavy seas near Willapa Bay Sunday night. An extended search by the Coast Guard and state and local agencies was suspended Monday evening. “Please don’t stop searching. He is out there,” McKenzie Salas, Fitch’s wife, wrote on Facebook. “He is a fighter. Please keep looking. We need to bring him home. Anyone and everyone please.” >click to read< 12:34

If You Eat Dungeness Crab, Please Help This Family (or even if you don’t, but can help)

Sunday, February 5th was another day in the long life of the F/V Ethel May, a wooden 46-foot crabber built in 1948 in South Bend, Washington, but it was to be her last. Crews from U.S. Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor and Air Station Astoria responded to the sinking after an emergency beacon was activated and the wife of one of the men called 911 to report an emergency onboard. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from the air station was able to rescue two crewmen from a life raft at about 8:10 p.m. Unfortunately, the Ethel May had a crew of three, so one did not come home, and the official search was called off at 5:30pm Monday after almost a day of looking methodically. The name of the missing fisherman is Bryson Fitch, and he leaves behind a wife and three young children (aged 6, 4 and 4 months). >click to read< 10:03

‘We need help bringing him home:’ Family remains hopeful as search for missing crabber continues

After a crabbing boat with a three-man crew sank near Willapa Bay Sunday night, the U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for the one man who remains missing, but his family won’t give up hope. The Coast Guard rescued two of the three men, but did not find 24-year-old Bryson Fitch, a father of three. The Coast Guard on Twitter posted a video and said a helicopter crew from Astoria, Oregon, hoisted two people from a life raft into the helicopter during rough weather and large waves. It was then that Fitch’s family got the call no one wants to hear. >click to read< 07:43

UPDATED: Search Suspended. Coast Guard, partner agencies save 2, search for missing man near Willapa Bay entrance

The Coast Guard and other agencies are searching for a missing man who was aboard a vessel in distress Sunday off the coast of Washington near the Willapa Bay entrance. Watchstanders at the Thirteenth Coast Guard District in Seattle 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. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River in Warrenton, Oregon, were notified that the wife of one of the men aboard the vessel called 911 to report an emergency aboard the vessel. Video, >click to read< 18:50

Updated: Search for Missing Fisherman Suspended – The U.S. Coast Guard and partner agencies suspended search efforts at 5:30 p.m. Monday evening for a missing man in Willapa Bay, Washington. Rescue crews completed 18 different search patterns, covering 290 sq. miles during over 15-hours of searching. >click to read< 13:51