NEWPORT, Oregon — The United States Coast Guard is holding five days of public hearings in Newport about the January capsizing of the Mary B II crab boat that killed three fishermen.
The hearings started Monday and are scheduled to convene at the Newport City Hall at 8 a.m. each day until Friday.
The proceedings will be streamed live each day. Click here to watch live
The public will hear testimony from the Coast Guard as well as the Newport fishing community on the January 8 accident and the rescuers' response to it.
The boat's three-man crew died after their crab boat capsized as they were trying to navigate past the Yaquina Bay bar on a stormy night.
US Coast Guard Lt. Russell Tippets said the Coast Guard will release parts of its investigation at the hearing, including the toxicology results of the crew. The Coast Guard will also discuss its response to the accident.
Stephen Biernacki, 50, of Barnegat Light, N.J. died on the boat along with longtime friend James Lacey, 48, of South Toms River, N.J., and Joshua Porter, 50, of Toledo, Ore.
All three were on board the Mary B II vessel late into the night when a storm hit. They tried to cross the Yaquina Bay bar to make it back to the marina.
"When they squared up over the submerged reef, they took about a 20-foot breaker over the boat," said Thomas Molloy of the US Coast Guard.
The Mary B II capsized. Unfortunately, rescue efforts were unsuccessful and all three men died.
Ian Wood, a close friend of Porter, said he believes he was the last man to talk to him. They texted back and forth as the storm worsened. "It got really rough out there," Wood said, "and they just shouldn't have been out there."