One dead and one missing after fishing boat sinks off Oregon

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A file photo of White Swan III in 2013, seen here receiving a tow from a motor lifeboat crew (USCG)

Posted on March 28, 2022 4:53 PM by

The Maritime Executive

A fishing boat sank off Florence, Oregon on Friday night, leaving one dead and one missing.


Coast Guard Sector North Bend watchmen received a distress call around midnight Friday from the captain of the fishing vessel White Swan III, identified as Mike Morgan, 68. He reported that the boat was sinking in the northern part of the Heceta Banks fishing grounds, about 30nm offshore.


A lifeboat crew from Siuslaw River Station arrived on the scene shortly after the initial distress call and found a field of debris. Additional Coast Guard assets were deployed to assist in the search, including multiple aircraft, motor lifeboats and the cutter Killer whales.


Early Saturday morning, a Coast Guard search party recovered an unconscious female victim who was identified as a crew member of White Swan III. The victim was pronounced dead by local paramedics.


Over the course of 24 hours, rescue teams searched approximately 230 square miles of sea area, but they were unable to locate Morgan. The search was canceled on Sunday.


“The decision to suspend an ongoing search and rescue case is never easy, and is only made after careful consideration of a myriad of factors,” said Scott Giard, Search Program Manager. and Coast Guard Rescue. “Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families throughout this incredibly difficult time.”


Morgan operated the small 32ft fishing boat as a family business, and it was well known in the Newport fishing community, according to local Yachats News. He sold much of his catch of albacore and salmon directly to the public at the Newport wharf.

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