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F/V SEAFARER Sinks Off Maryland coast with Two Missing; One Rescued

According to reports, F/V SEAFARER and her crew of three headed out to fish for flounder on the evening of March 1, fishing farther north than usual in order to find better fishing.

By the morning of March 6, 67-foot SEAFARER was disabled and under tow by her sister ship, F/V CAPTAIN ALEX. But then the tow was lost in worsening weather, after which SEAFARER disappeared from view. Her EPIRB signal activated and alerted the Coast Guard at 10:39 a.m. When the Coast Guard arrived to the area, about fifteen miles east of Assateague Island, MD, they found one man, said to be Patrick Small of North Carolina, in a raft with hypothermia and a head injury, but alive. He was airlifted by helicopter to safety and hospital care.

The other two fishermen, said to be Walter Tate, Sr., and his nephew, Steve Tate, both also of North Carolina, remain missing. Seas at the time were eight to twelve feet with winds of thirty to forty miles per hour; the Coast Guard was forced to suspend the search yesterday evening as the rain and cloud cover increased with winds reaching up to sixty miles per hour, but resumed their efforts at daybreak today. At 1:00 p.m. EST today, after searching over 560 square nautical miles, the search was again suspended without luck.

The family has suffered such sad losses at sea a number of times over the years, and Walter Tate, Sr. had even been adrift for a couple of days in 1992 with his crew in a life raft after the vessel on which they were fishing sunk. A family member was quoted as saying life at sea is what Mr. Tate and other family members knew, and, as experienced fishermen, they always returned to their work. Our thoughts and prayers go out to these men and their families.

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