Coast Guard Calls Off Search For Missing Bering Sea Fisherman

The Coast Guard has called off its search for a fisherman who fell overboard from his vessel in the Bering Sea on Wednesday.

The Coast Guard isn’t releasing the man’s name, but friends, family and local news reports say he is Eric Eder. Eder was fishing aboard the F/V Seeker. The Coast Guard says it’s an 87-foot trawler based in Newport, Oregon.

Eder fell from the Seeker Wednesday morning, 10 miles northwest of Unimak Island. Another vessel in the area, the F/V Seafreeze Alaska, alerted the Coast Guard. Several nearby boats were already looking for Eder by the time a Jayhawk helicopter crew got to the scene.

The F/V Seeker pictured in 2006. Photo courtesy from
The F/V Seeker pictured in 2006. Photo courtesy from

The Jayhawk searched for a few hours, only pausing to refuel in Cold Bay. Around 4:30 p.m., they turned the scene over to the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley, which came from a patrol near Unalaska.

The Alex Haley searched until about 10 p.m. Wednesday. That’s when petty officer Grant DeVuyst says the Coast Guard suspended its search.

“That’s always a difficult decision to make for a search and rescue team,” DeVuyst said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the missing.”

DeVuyst says the Jayhawk, the cutter and the good Samaritan vessels had searched for about 10 hours total. He says they’re ready to keep looking if they get any new information about Eder’s whereabouts.

DeVuyst says they’ve been in touch with the mariner’s family to let them know the Coast Guard’s active search is over for now. DeVuyst says in cases like this, the mariner is legally considered missing by the Coast Guard.

It’s not clear yet how Eder fell from the Seeker. Coast Guard Sector Anchorage will conduct an investigation.

There was a gale warning in effect for the Unimak Island area on Wednesday, with about 10-foot seas, winds up to 40 miles per hour, snow and freezing spray.