A commercial fisherman who fell overboard near Bodega Bay remained missing Monday afternoon, two days after the U.S. Coast Guard suspended its water search without finding any sign of him, authorities said.
The unidentified victim reportedly was working as a deckhand aboard a 40-foot salmon trawler called the Ricky Leboy when he fell over the side shortly before 8 p.m. Friday, U.S. Coast Guard personnel said.
He wasn’t wearing a life vest the last time he was seen, Lt. Athena Stricker said.
Only two people — the captain and his deckhand — were aboard the vessel, which moors in Moss Landing but comes north each year to troll for salmon, said Tony DeLima, sales manager at the Tides Wharf in Bodega Bay.
DeLima, who regularly buys fish from the boat, identified the captain as a Vietnamese man named K. Le. He said Le and the deckhand had been out on the water since the previous Monday and that Le told him briefly what had happened when he came in Saturday to sell from his hold.
But details remained scarce Monday, as little information was conveyed when the initial report was made to emergency authorities, Stricker said. There were reports of a language barrier, as well.
Moss Landing Harbor Master Linda McIntyre said she couldn’t disclose information about slip holders or confirm that the Ricky Leboy was among them.
Spud Point Marina attendant Reese Farnan said talk around the harbor was that the deckhand may have been reaching off the side of the vessel to manage a roll stabilizer when he went overboard, though that story couldn’t be confirmed.
“It’s a tragedy,” Farnan said.
He said the Ricky Leboy was one of several Moss Landing boats that typically run north together and patronize the Spud Point fuel dock when they’re in the harbor, though this year only two came up due to restrictions in the salmon season, he and DeLima said.
Farnan said the swell was limited Friday night but winds of 25 to 30 knots easily could have created trouble.
“A lots of things can happen in windy conditions, even with no swell,” he said.
The Coast Guard said emergency personnel were alerted to the incident by high-frequency radio at 7:48 p.m. Friday. The Ricky Leboy was about 2 nautical miles from Bodega Bay, south of Doran Beach.
A CHP helicopter was first to respond, along with a 45-foot motor lifeboat out of the Coast Guard’s Bodega Bay station. The 87-foot Coast Guard cutter and an agency helicopter, both out of San Francisco, and a fixed wing airplane all eventually joined the search, which was suspended without a recovery Saturday afternoon, Petty Officer Cory Mendenhall said.
You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.