Two people were killed early Monday morning after their fishing vessel struck a jetty in the Siuslaw River Bar and sank near Florence, Oregon.
The U.S. Coast Guard reported that watchstanders received a distress call at approximately 1:50 a.m. from the captain of the captain of fishing vessel Aquarius stating all crew members were abandoning ship.
The vessel had struck the south jetty in the Siuslaw River Bar and was beginning to take on water.
Shortly thereafter, the 13th District command center received a signal from the vessels Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.
An MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Air Facility Newport launched and arrived on scene at 2:50 a.m. Rescue crews from Station Siuslaw River and Station Umpqua River also assisted with the search, while Siuslaw Valley Fire Rescue and Western Lane Ambulance, along with members from Station Siuslaw River, searched from shore.
One responsive person was located and rescued near the shoreline. The victim was able to confirm that two others were onboard the vessel with him when it sank.
The Coast Guard helicopter crew located a second unresponsive person and hoisted them into the aircraft. At approximately 7 a.m., the final person was located.
Both were later pronounced dead.
The deceased have been identified as Kyle and Amber Novelli, owners of the popular Novelli’s Crab & Seafood restaurant in Florence.
“With a heavy heart I am saddened to to inform the many award winning crab chowder followers of the passing of Kyle and Amber Novelli. Sharing their love of crabbing was always their dream. Their personalities will forever leave a lasting impression on anyone who met them,” the restaurant wrote in a Facebook post.
Conditions on scene were reported as 6 to 8-foot seas with occasional 10-foot waves, breaking at the bar.
“This highly unfortunate loss of two members of our close community deeply saddens all of us,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Jay Nilles, Officer-in-Charge of Station Siuslaw River. “We continue to stand by you in this time of need and healing. We could not continue to be strong and successful without our partnerships with Siuslaw Valley Fire Rescue and Western Lane Ambulance, who both assisted us in safely recovering one survivor from the tragic incident at sea, and getting him to a higher level of medical care at a rapid pace.”
“Without today’s technology of VHF-FM radio communications and an EPIRB, we would not have been able to quickly locate the scene of distress, followed by the location of survivors and victims. This highlights the need for life-saving equipment on our commercial fishing fleet as we continue our mission to make commercial fishing safer for everyone,” Nilles added.