Wreck of the Eagle III claimed 3 lives on January 19, 2016
COOS BAY, Ore. - The crew of the Eagle III got a late start January 19, 2016, heading out around 10 or 10:30 a.m.
"Fished and worked all day," Captain Glenn Burkhow said.
The lights wouldn't come on as the sun went down.
"Come to be dark," Burkhow said, "and our generator wouldn't start."
Burkhow and his crew - Josh Paulus, Danny Matlock and Blaine Steinmetz - decided to head back in.
If they could repair the generator, they'd head back out.
If it wasn't a straightforward fix, they'd call it a day.
They entered the mouth of Coos Bay in 30 mph winds and 10-foot waves.
"I told the guys to kind of keep an eye behind for anything unusual big," he said.
"Shortly after that, Blaine said, 'Here comes a big one.' And that would be the last time I'd hear or see those guys ever again."
The wreck of the Eagle III one year ago claimed the lives of Steinmetz, 52; Paulus, 31; and Matlock, 37.
A week later, the fishing vessel Sara Jo went out to retrieve the crab pots left out by the Eagle III. The goal: sell the crab and turn the money over to the families of the victims of the Eagle III.
Instead, the Sara Jo lost power crossing the bar.
"We came across and we lost our shaft," crew member David Schellong said. "We had no forward or reverse. The next thing you know we were on the can. He called a mayday, we put our suits on and we took a couple breakers."
The boat capsized, throw all 3 crew members into the ocean. Raymundo Cardoso didn't make it.
The twin tragedies brought the community together.
"It's very tight-knit," local Travis Wanock said. "No matter where you go you run into the same guys. You can be in Alaska and hop off a boat and you'll run into the same kind of friends, or California or Washington ... it's like it's almost like its own little state."
Less than two months later, that community weathered a third tragedy: the Patty AJ capsized and sank crossing the bar March 23. Three members of the crew made it to safety. The skipper that day, 68-year-old Jerry Lee Barkley, didn't make it.
Ronald Silva, the boat's owner, wasn't aboard the Patty AJ that day.
But he was the Patty AJ's skipper back in 2011 when the vessel rescued two fishermen from the Randi.
"We got several comments that we were the heroes," Silva said at the time. "We are not heroes. We were just there. It was our turn."