On Jan. 9, Coast Guard crews learned of a vessel having trouble as it crossed the Yaquina Bay bar. Shortly afterward, the Mary B II had capsized, prompting an air and ground search. But all three members of the crew died, one after being plucked from the ocean by helicopter.

The Mary B II after washing ashore

The Mary B II after washing ashore

Oregon State Police

“Certainly a terrible situation,” says Coast Guard spokesman Levi Reed. “First and foremost, our thoughts go toward the family and friends who lost people during this terrible incident. The goal is to just find out the cause, and to help it from happening again.”

The deaths of Josh Porter, James Lacey and Stephen Biernacki have shaken the community. Taunett Dixon is president of the Newport Fisherman’s Wives.

“You know, we are a really close fishing community, we deeply care about each other,” Dixon tells KLCC.  “And when this happens, it’s pretty traumatizing for other fishermen and their families.”

Dixon’s group has promoted fundraisers for the victims’ families, as well as for the Coast Guard, whose personnel remain unpaid during the government shutdown.