|Death: ||Dec. 18, 2010|
Young father dies in crabber on bay
Observer staff report
WILLAPA BAY - The nation's true deadliest catch claimed another life Saturday. A Pacific County man died at the mouth of Willapa Bay after the FV Ella Ann, in which he was Dungeness crabbing, flipped in rough water.
Luis Perez, a 34-year-old South Bend man, drowned and boat skipper Eric Petit narrowly avoided the same fate when their 29-foot Bay Center-based fishing vessel overturned near "the sink" just inside the Willapa bar at about 11 a.m. Saturday. The tide was extremely high - 9.1 feet at 10:23 a.m. - and conditions were windy throughout the area.
Coast Guard Air Station Astoria launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to the area after Petit called Pacific County 911 dispatch. He managed to say the boat had capsized and both men were in the water without life jackets. Petit is an oysterman who crabs to supplement his income.
Once on scene, the helicopter crew located the captain from the air as he waved to them, but appeared to be slipping beneath the water's surface. He soon succumbed and the crew saw him floating in the water in his red rain gear.
Petit was unresponsive when the aircrew hoisted him onboard the helicopter, but they were able to revive him with CPR. He was taken to Willapa Harbor Hospital in South Bend where he was treated and then released Monday.
The Coast Guard was unable to locate Perez at the scene of the accident. The Jayhawk crew, along with a 47-foot motor lifeboat crew and a 25-foot response boat crew from Station Grays Harbor, continued to search for Perez until after dark at 6 p.m. Saturday, but were unable to find him. They did not resume the search on Sunday.
On Monday, Perez's body was discovered by citizens in Willapa Bay. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife assisted the Pacific County Sheriff's Office by dispatching a boat to the area and recovering the body, which was positively identified by family.
The water temperature at the time of the incident was a deadly 45 degrees. A small field of debris was been spotted at the mouth of Willapa Bay.
Perez is survived by his wife, Maria, and by their one and a half-year-old son Louis Emmanuel. Perez worked for Goose Point Oysters before crabbing. He had lived in South Bend for at least 20 years.
Donations are being accepted for the family at Bank of America in Raymond and at Pioneer Grocery in South Bend. There will be a $20 crab and oyster all-you-can-eat dinner and silent auction at Dock of the Bay Restaurant in Bay Center this Wednesday, Dec. 22, starting at 5 p.m. with all proceeds going to his family.
Despite the dangers of the famous Alaskan king crab fishery, over the course of time accidents on the Dungeness crab grounds of the Pacific Northwest result in more fatalities. Saturday's was the first of the young season, which officially began Dec. 1 but didn't fully kick into gear until Dec. 12.
Funeral services for Perez are pending at Stoller's Mortuary in Raymond.
Created by: Jo Frey
Record added: Dec 22, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 63205474
May your wife and son find peace, strength and comfort in their memories of you. Rest in peace.|
Added: Dec. 22, 2010