On Sunday a Seattle fishing vessel, The Papa George, sank 12 miles off the Washington coast. Two of the vessels’ crew members, David Starbuck, 62, and Ethel Zelaya, 37, died when the vessel capsized. Traveling in the skiff, the surviving crew came ashore at Long Beach at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, bringing the bodies of the two victims along with them. None of the survivors required hospitalization.
The fishing vessel was carrying a load of 40 to 60 tons of sardines at the time it sank. The crew continually pumped water in and out of the boat in order to keep the fish fresh. However, the boat’s pump was unable to keep up and the boat began filling up with water, causing it to list and ultimately to sink.
“There was too much water on the boat, basically,”[Petty Officer Shawn] Eggert said. “That caused the boat to capsize, sending the whole crew overboard.”
One man managed to cling to the vessel and get the skiff off, and he rescued two of his fellow crew members. But they were unable to reach [David] Starbuck or [Ethel] Zelaya in time.
The survivors saw Zelaya apparently making a valiant but futile attempt to rescue a dog from the ship’s cabin.
“She was seen and then she went into the water,” said Fischer, with the Coast Guard Air Station Astoria.
Several fellow fishermen viewed this accident as yet another reminder of the grave dangers or working at sea. Barry McKee, skipper of the Zenith and owner of two other vessels said, “”Every year it seems like you lose four or five people.”