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Channel where Patty AJ capsized now clear, Coast Guard says

A salvage crew floated the Patty AJ to the surface and moved it about 300 yards to the side of the channel into shallower water. (KCBY photo)

COOS BAY, Ore. -- A week after the Patty AJ capsized inside the Coos Bay bar the U.S. Coast Guard says the channel is now clear and safe to navigate.

A salvage crew floated the Patty AJ to the surface and moved it about 300 yards to the side of the channel into shallower water.

Kary Moss with the Coast Guard in Coos Bay says the boat was brought to the surface using floats.

"They aired those up, then each of those provided about 6,000 pounds of buoyancy to help lift the boat off the bottom, and then a large tug was able to tow it into shallower water," Moss says.

The cause of the accident is still being investigated.

The Coos County Sheriff's Office says a search and rescue dive team inspected the vessel Wednesday morning but they didn't find the body of the missing captain of the boat, Jerry Barkley.

The Coast Guard says it will take a few more days to fully remove the boat from the water.

There are "no navigational safety concerns in the channel," says Moss. "We are asking that recreational vessels to stay clear from the local area where they're working with salvage operations, and that's mainly for their own safety."

Back on dry land, the local Charleston Fishing Families is stepping up to raise funds for Barkley's family.

The group was created out of the Eagle III tragedy back in January and has been fundraising for the fishing community ever since.

Organizers say all donations made to their 'You Caring' page -- similar to a go fund me account -- will go directly to the family.

They're also selling t-shirts to build up a general relief fund for future tragedies.

"Most boats don't have insurance in general, let alone the ability for these men to be able to afford life insurance for their families. It's few and far between that can do that," says the group's Melissa Clemens.

Visit the Charleston Fishing Families Facebook page for more information.

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