A U.S. Coast Guard hearing was scheduled to start Monday to examine what might have happened to a fishing boat that mysteriously sunk off the Washington coast last month, along with its four crew members.
The 70-foot Lady Cecelia and its crew went missing after an emergency beacon was activated from the boat in the early hours of Saturday, March 10. The beacon led search crews to a debris field about 17 miles west of Leadbetter Point near Willapa Bay.
An empty life raft was found nearby, but there was no sign of the vessel or its crew. Emergency crews scoured an area of more than 640 miles before suspending the search the following day.
The crew included Dave Nichols, 42, and Jason Bjaranson, 38, of Warrenton, Ore.; Luke Jensen, 22, of Ilwaco, Wash.; and Chris Langel, 25, a NOAA Fisheries observer from Kaukauna, Wis.
Coast Guard investigators have been working with NOAA to determine what caused the tragedy. The Coast Guard’s Marine Board of Investigation is holding the formal hearing at Camp Rilea in Warrenton, Ore.
Coast Guard investigators will use the evidence presented during the hearing, which is scheduled to last through Thursday, to determine the most likely cause of the vessel and crew’s disappearance.
The hearing is open to the public, but cameras, camera phones and other visual recording devices are prohibited during the proceedings. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 16 through 20 in the auditorium in Building 7021 at Camp Rilea, 33168 Patriot Way, Warrenton.