July 5, 2012 | Volume 42, No.27

Fisherman Dick Boyce presumed drowned

Haines commercial fisherman Richard “Dick” Boyce was presumed drowned after falling off his gillnet boat early Wednesday morning near Mab Island, about 45 miles south of Haines.

Coast Guard Petty officials said Boyce ran toward the back of his vessel after its net got caught in the propeller. He tripped and fell overboard. After deckhand and daughter Karen Boyce went to the vessel’s steering station to declutch the engine, there was no sign of him in the water, according to the Coast Guard.

Boyce’s heavy rain gear and boots may have pulled him under, Coast Guard officials said. Boyce was 63.

A 25-foot, Coast Guard response boat and a Jayhawk helicopter, as well as several fishing boats, searched the area Wednesday morning. The Coast Guard received a report of a man overboard at 5:10 a.m. Wednesday.

Boyce was reportedly wearing green raingear and no flotation device at the time of the accident. Boyce was a 40-year Haines resident and longtime fisherman who built the Eleanor S, the vessel from which he fell.

The fishing area near Mab has been crowded with boats in recent weeks, harvesting a hatchery chum salmon return.