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'I would trade any of them places': Remembering the Eagle III disaster

NORTH BEND, Ore. - The Eagle III capsized crossing the Coos Bay bar on January 19, 2016.

Three members of the 4-man crab boat crew lost their lives:

  • Josh Paulus
  • Danny Matlock
  • Blaine Steinmetz

"They were good guys," Glenn Burkhow, the captain of the Eagle III that day, said Thursday on the first anniversary of the disaster. "We were part of a team. It's just hard. Been a tough year."

Burkhow was the sole survivor.

"I don't know how I made it, but I'm here," he said. "I just don't have the words for it. I wish I could go back. I would trade any of them places, if not all of them, if I could."

Family and friends gathered at the north spit Thrusday to remember the men lost that day.

"Especially when you see that little granddaughter, it just really hurts that Josh isn't here to help, you know, take care of her," Burkhow said. "He was a good dad. And it goes to the other two, they were fathers. But it's really a sore reminder when you see that little granddaughter with that smile and she don't have her dad."

Despite the painful memory of the accident Burkhow carries with him everyday, he continues to cross the Coos Bay bar and fish for crab.

"Every time I cross that bar, I shed a little tear thinking about those guys," he said. "It is definitely a hard one. A really hard one."

"I wish you were here," Burkhow said, thinking of Paulus, Matlock and Steinmetz. "My heart goes out to them. I know the lord's looking after them. God bless them."

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