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Empty lifeboat, equipment from missing Gloucester fishing boat found washed ashore

The Coast Guard began its search for the Foxy Lady II and its two-member crew on Monday after the captain’s girlfriend reported that the boat had not been heard from since Saturday around noon, officials said. The 45-foot vessel left from its home port of Gloucester, Mass., that morning and was scheduled to return that evening.

The fishermen on board have been identified as 26-year-old Wally Gray, the captain, and his 50-year-old crewman, Wayne Young, from Deer Isle, Maine, said Angela Sanfilippo, president of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association.

The last known location of the vessel was 15 miles north of Provincetown, Mass., where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration picked up a signal from the boat’s fishing monitoring system around noon Saturday, said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Robert Simpson. The National Weather Service had issued a small-craft advisory for coastal waters that day calling for seas of 3 to 5 feet, with sustained winds of 10 to 15 mph and gusts up to 30 mph. Conditions were worse farther offshore.

But the Coast Guard didn’t receive a distress call from the boat or signals from the boat’s emergency satellite beacon, which is designed to transmit signals when it’s in the water, he said.

The boat must have gone down fast and unexpectedly if the fishermen didn’t even have time to send out a distress signal or make a call on a cellphone, Sanfilippo said. She said it was her understanding the fishermen were shucking scallops and that boat didn’t have any fishing gear in the water at the time it disappeared.

“Two lives have disappeared and we might not ever know what really happened,” she said.

A small, enclosed lifeboat was found Tuesday in a marshy area near the mouth of the Saugus River in Saugus, and some fishing gear was found on Nantasket Beach in Hull, about 30 miles south of Saugus, said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Jeff Hall in Boston.

“Both things have been identified as being from the boat,” said Hall, who said winds and ocean currents can sometimes cause items from the same vessel to spread far apart.

The Coast Guard search had covered 360 square miles through Tuesday.

Officials planned to use cutters and smaller Coast Guard vessels in Wednesday’s search. Depending on the weather, the guard was also hoping to dispatch a Jayhawk helicopter and a Falcon jet, Simpson said.

The Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association has set up a fund for the families of the missing fishermen. Donations should be sent to Fishing Fund Foxy Lady II, in care of BankGloucester, 160 Main St., Gloucester, Mass. 01930.

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