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Holding out hope: Washington man still missing after crabbing boat sinks

Bryson Fitch, a father of three, went missing out at sea near Willipa Bay on Sunday night when the crabbing boat he was working on began to sink.

BAY CENTER, Wash. — The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its 15-hour search Monday night for Bryson Fitch, a western Washington man and father of three.

Fitch went missing out at sea near Willipa Bay on Sunday night when the crabbing boat he was working on began to sink.

Now Fitch's wife and sister are pleading with the public to help them find their loved one as they search miles of western Washington beaches with binoculars.

"We know he's still out there, and we're not gonna leave him out there, so we need eyes on every shoreline," said McKenzie Salas, his wife.

Two other passengers on the crabbing vessel were hoisted to safety in a water rescue Sunday as it started to sink.

"My brother Bryson he, um, made it to the raft along with the other two passengers and a wave came over them and he got taken by the wave," said Kelsea Broddy, his sister.

"The coast guard didn't see him," added Salas.

Along with being a beloved husband, Fitch is a father of three small children: a 6-year-old, 4-year-old and 4-month-old.

The family has spent long hours searching for him.

"It's brutal," said Salas.

"Nonstop searching for him," added Broddy. "We were out there probably at 8:00 in the morning in the rain searching for him."

"And all day yesterday," said Salas.

They are pleading for your help to try and find him.

"He's still out there and we wanna bring him home and we need people to help us search," said Broddy.

"We're just spread thin and we just need help and eyes everywhere," said Salas.

Here's where he might be:

  • Shorelines of Willapa Bay
  • Bay Center
  • Washaway Beach in North Cove
  • Tokeland
  • Bonge Avenue Beach in Grayland
  • Westport
  • Long Beach

In the meantime, pieces of the sunken crabbing boat are now starting to wash up ashore, his wife said.

"There's huge chunks of boat everywhere now," said Salas.

Officals are still investigating what caused the 46-foot crabbing boat he was working on near the Willapa bay entrance to sink.

"We want nothing more than to find the last individual from the fishing vessel Ethel May," said Lt. Cmdr. Colin Fogarty, the search and rescue mission coordinator for U.S. Coast Guard. “Suspending search efforts is a tough decision that we never take lightly."

Salas described Fitch as a funny, smart, bright light in their family, and as the glue that holds their family together.

"Bryson is a fighter. He-- if there is anyone-- it would be him to survive this," said Salas.

Local sheriffs and Pacific County assisted the Coast Guard and other officials in a 15-hour search with crews from air, sea, and shore. Using drones and other equipment, they covered nearly 300 square miles throughout Willapa Bay, the coastline, and offshore, according to the Coast Guard.

Broddy said Fitch is the sole provider for his family. If you would like to support his wife and children monetarily, donations can be made to this GoFundMe.

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