Seafarer Survivor Not Sure If He'll Go Back Out On Water Again

The lone survivor of a fishing boat from Eastern Carolina that was lost off the Maryland coast says the biggest wave he had ever seen destroyed the ship in seconds.

The search was called off Thursday for two other crew members, 80-year-old Captain Walter Tate and his nephew, Steven Tate, on the 67-foot Seafarer.

Patrick Small talked this afternoon to WITN's Dan Yesenosky. He returned to his home in Beaufort County Thursday night after spending several hours in a Maryland emergency room.

Small said the ship had lost its rudder and was being towed when a wave snapped the tow line. The 34-year-old Small was pinned to the roof before it was ripped off, and he was washed off the trawler.

The man, who lives in Bath, is recovering from a gash on the head and several broken ribs. He spent some 90 minutes in the water before getting into a life-raft. "I paddled around the boat as long as I could trying to find my guys," Small told WITN. "I was just so cold. I got so tired, I couldn't keep up with the boat anymore. The waves just took me on away."

A Coast Guard helicopter from Elizabeth City rescued Small about an hour later.

Small has been fishing since he was 14, but after what happened to him he's not sure if he'll go back out on the water again.


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The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for two missing fishermen from Beaufort County.

The Coast Guard says the men were aboard the trawler Seafarer when it became disabled in heavy seas Wednesday about 15 miles east of Assateague Island, Maryland.

The search for the two started again this morning at 7:00 a.m. and was suspended at 1:00 p.m., according to the Coast Guard.

The family tells WITN that 80-year-old Captain Walter Tate and his 60-year-old nephew, Stephen Tate, remain missing Thursday. We're told Captain Tate lives in Pamlico Beach while Stephen Tate's residence is in Bath.

Captain Tate's daughter, Daphne Peterson, tells us her father has been a fisherman for 75 years. She says in 1992 her father and four others spent more than 50 hours in a life raft after his boat "Lois Joyce" sank.

Peterson says her father and nephew were out flounder fishing and had left Friday evening. She said they normally fish off the North Carolina and Virginia coast, but few fish pushed them up north.

The Coast Guard was able to rescue one member of the crew from a life boat, using a Jayhawk Helicopter. They say Patrick Small had suffered hypothermia and a head injury.

The Coast Guard reported the initial call came in as an emergency radio beacon alert around 10:40 a.m. Wednesday. The trawler's owner told the Coast Guard that the Seafarer had become disabled and its sister ship started towing it. As weather conditions worsened, the ship lost the tow and sight of the Seafarer.

Seas in the area were 8 to 12 feet, while winds were 30 to 40 miles per hour.

The Coast Guard says they searched over 560 square nautical miles of the ocean in an effort to locate the two men.

Stephen Tate's family says they will hold a memorial service at 2:00 p.m. Sunday at The River Church on Highway 92, just outside of Bath.


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Two Eastern Carolina men remain missing off their fishing boat which became disabled Wednesday in heavy seas about 15 miles east of Assateague Island, Maryland.

Because of weather conditions, the Coast Guard had to suspend the search late Wednesday until this morning.

Family friends tell WITN 80-year-old Captain William Tate and Stephen Tate, believed to be in his 50s remain missing Thursday. We're told Captain Tate's residence is in Pamlico Beach while Stephen Tate's resident is in Bath.

The Coast Guard reports it initially received an emergency position indicating radio beacon alert from the 67-foot fishing vessel Seafarer at 10:39 a.m. Wednesday. The boat is based out of Scranton in Hyde County.

We are told the vessel's sister ship started towing the Seafarer after it became disabled. It was reported that the ship lost the tow and sight of the Seafarer when weather conditions worsened.

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City launched a Jayhawk crew to the Seafarers reported position. The aircrew rescued a man from a life raft and took him to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Maryland. Afterward, the Jayhawk crew continued their search for the two missing men.

Seas in the area were 8 to 12 feet, while winds were 30 to 40 miles per hour.


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Two fishermen believed to be from Hyde County are missing off the eastern shore of Maryland after their fishing boat became distressed in heavy seas.

The U.S. Coast Guard says they have rescued one crewmember from the 67-foot Seafarer, while they continue to search for two more. The Seafarer is based in Scranton.

The Coast Guard says one man was found on a life raft and was rescued by the crew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Elizabeth City.

They say the initial call came in as an emergency radio beacon alert around 10:40 a.m. The fishing boat's owner told the Coast Guard that the Seafarer had become disabled and its sister ship started towing it. As weather conditions worsened, the ship lost the tow and sight of the Seafarer.

Seas in the area were 8 to 12 feet, while winds were 30 to 40 miles per hour.


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