Watchstanders at U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Bend received a mayday call on Friday, March 25th, 2022, just before midnight. The call came from Mike Morgan, master of the 32-foot F/V WHITE SWAN III. It was reported that the sinking vessel was found approximately 35 miles off the coast of Florence, Oregon, in the northern section of Heceta Bank.
A Station Siuslaw River Motor Lifeboat crew arrived first on the scene shortly after receiving the distress call to find a debris field. Additional teams were deployed to help in the search including:
- Coast Guard Sector Columbia River MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew
- Air Facility Newport MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew
- Sector North Bend MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew
- Coast Guard Station Siuslaw River 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew
- Coast Guard Station Umpqua River 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew
- 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter Orcas
On Saturday morning, one of the U.S. Coast Guard search teams found an unresponsive female, who was identified as one of the F/V WHITE SWAN III crewmembers. She was pronounced deceased by local emergency personnel.
Rescue crews searched a 232 square mile area of sea for 24 hours but were unable to locate Mike Morgan. According to Chief Petty Officer William Colclough the search was suspended on Sunday.
“The decision to suspend an active search and rescue case is never easy, and it’s only made after careful consideration of myriad factors,” said Scott Giard, Coast Guard Search and Rescue program manager. “Our thoughts and condolences are with the families throughout this unimaginably challenging time.”
Mr. Morgan, age 68, operated the 32-foot vessel as a family business, and was well known throughout the community. He reportedly sold a great deal of his catch at the dock in Newport, directly to the public.