Photo Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Stonington Fishermen Still Missing at Sea

Photo Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

STONINGTON — A fishing community in Maine is once again suffering a brutal reminder that the price of fish can’t be measured in dollars alone.

On Wednesday morning, the Coast Guard was continuing a search in Massachusetts Bay begun early Monday morning for two Deer Isle fishermen shortly after they were reported missing.

Coast Guard Search and Rescue Controller Jay Woodhead said that skipper Wallace Gray II, 25, and his crew, Wayne Young, 50, left Gloucester, Mass., early Saturday morning on a day trip to fish for scallops aboard the 45-foot Stonington-based Foxy Lady II. At about 8:05 Monday morning, Woodhead said, the Coast Guard was notified by telephone that the boat had failed to return to Gloucester on Saturday as planned.

According to Woodhead, the boat was reported missing by a woman he identified as Gray’s girlfriend. He said that she had last been in contact with Gray sometime around noon Saturday via text messages.

When the Foxy Lady II sailed on Saturday, Woodhead said, the weather in Massachusetts Bay was “reasonably good” for December, “but it started to deteriorate” on Sunday.

The Coast Guard sent several units including an MH60 Jayhawk helicopter from Cape Cod, the 270-foot medium endurance cutter Spencer and three 47-foot motor lifeboats to scour the area around Stellwagen Bank, about 15 miles north of Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. Weather conditions in the search area on Monday were poor, with 10-12-foot seas and east northeast winds of 20 knots. The air temperature hovered in the low 40s and the water temperature was a chilly 47 degrees.

On Tuesday, the Spencer was joined on the scene by the 110-foot cutters Sanibel and Bainbridge Island. A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter and an HU-25 Falcon jet were being held in reserve until weather in the area improved.

By Tuesday afternoon, weather conditions had improved marginally, with 8-10-foot seas and 15-20-knot winds in half-mile visibility. The search area was narrowed, Coast Guard P.O. Robert Simpson said Wednesday morning, after the empty life raft registered to Foxy Lady II was found ashore at about 5 p.m. near a marsh at the mouth of the Saugus River on Massachusetts Bay’s South Shore.

“We inspected the raft and it didn’t appear anyone had been on board,” Simpson said.

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Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]