Yaquina Bay tragedy: 'Our hearts and thoughts are with the family and friends of the crew'

Photo of Josh Porter and his wife (left) and James Lacey and his wife (right) - Images courtesy family members

NEWPORT, Ore. - Police have identified the crew of a fishing vessel killed when their boat capsized while crossing the Yaquina Bay bar Tuesday night.

At 10 p.m., the U.S. Coast Guard learned of "a boat needing assistance crossing the Yaquina Bay bar due to high seas," Oregon State Police said.

"Coast Guard was on scene quickly, even as it happened, as vessel's crew had asked for escort across the bar, so we were there very quickly," Petty Officer Levi Read told KOMONews Radio. "Unfortunately we were not able to recover them."

At 10:13 p.m., state police learned that F/V Mary B II had capsized with three people on board.

A Coast Guard helicopter located James Lacey, 48, of South Toms River, New Jersey, in the water and took him to Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

At 12:28 a.m., the Newport Fire Department found Joshua Porter, 50, of Toledo, Oregon, on the sand near Nye Beach. He died at the scene, police said.

The Mary B II later ran aground on the beach near the Yaquina Bay North Jetty, police said.

The vessel's skipper, 50-year-old Stephen Biernacki of Barnegat Township, New Jersey, was found dead in the boat.

Petty Officer Read said the vessel capsized in normal sea and weather conditions for this time of year. He said the Yaquina Bay bar is a dangerous bar, as are all of the river bars in the Pacific Northwest.

"We did everything we could," Read said. "Unfortunately, it was just a tragic outcome, and our hearts and thoughts are with the family and friends of the crew."

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