Alaska News

Fishing captain dies after crew abandons capsizing boat in Southwest Alaska

A Texas man is dead after a commercial fishing boat capsized in Nushagak Bay early Thursday, Alaska State Troopers said.

Troopers received a call just before 6 a.m. that a boat had taken on water on the south end of Nushagak Bay south of Dillingham. Three people who had been on the boat were in the water, troopers soon learned.

Two wildlife troopers patrolling the area in a skiff immediately responded and pulled one person aboard. The other two crew were taken aboard other fishing vessels in the area that assisted, troopers said.

Texas resident Lance Eric Norby, 45, the captain of the Pneuma, was declared dead by the Coast Guard at approximately 9:38 a.m., troopers said.

The other two crew members declined additional medical assistance, troopers said.

The Pneuma is part of OBI Seafoods’ fishing fleet. The company in a statement extended its condolences to Norby’s family and friends, and said that the boat “was stuck on a sandbar when a large wave knocked the entire crew overboard.”

Troopers did not say whether Norby was pulled aboard their skiff or fishing vessels that aided in the rescue. His remains were being sent to the state medical examiner.

“Based on the troopers preliminary investigation, poor weather combined with an uneven fish load is likely what caused the vessel to capsize,” agency spokesman Austin McDaniel said.