Body recovered of final crew member missing from capsized shrimp trawler

F/V Papa's Girl [image courtesy Facebook]

The body of the final crewman missing from an Engelhard shrimp trawler that sank one month ago has been recovered from the Pamlico Sound.

Sammy Douglas’ remains were found Tuesday by the crew of a N.C. Ferry Division watercraft, WCTI-TV reported Thursday.

The M/V Papa’s Girl capsized in a storm on January 7. Douglas, Keyron “Breezy” Davis and Capt. Floyd “F.G” Gibbs died, while Ben Poe survived.

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The remains have been recovered of one of the crewmembers missing from a shrimp trawler that capsized in the Pamlico Sound last week.

The body of Keyron “Breezy” Davis was recovered Friday morning. The Hyde County Sheriff’s Office told WCTI-TV his body was found using sidescan sonar.

Along with the Sheriff’s Office, commercial fishing vessels and volunteer boaters have continued searching off Engelhard for Sammy Douglas as weather conditions have allowed.

Four men were onboard the F/V Papa’s Girl when it went down as a strong cold front crossed the sound the evening of January 7.

Capt. Floyd “F.G.” Gibbs died at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center after being rescued by the Coast Guard along with crewman Ben Poe. Poe was treated for hypothermia and released from the hospital the next day.

A Facebook fundraiser for the families of the men lost and Poe had raised nearly $14,000 as of Tuesday morning.

Donations of Amazon gift cards are also being requested using this link, and directing the donation to Funddonation356@gmail.com.

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The U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday afternoon suspended the search for two crew members who remain missing after their shrimp trawler went down Tuesday night in the Pamlico Sound.

The captain of F/V Papa’s Girl died after the vessel sunk Tuesday evening as a strong cold front blew across the area.

Crews from U.S. Coast Guard stations Oregon Inlet, Hatteras Inlet and Elizabeth City called on local mariners to help the search for Keyrn Davis and Sammy Douglas, who have not been seen since the F/V Papa’s Girl capsized.

Video shows Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer David Downham, a rescue swimmer at Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, pulling a survivor from a life raft and helping him into a MH-60 Jaywalk’s hoisting basket:

The Coast Guard and partner agencies searched approximately 1,170 square miles since a distress signal came in Tuesday about 7 p.m.

The Coast Guard said Tuesday night they launched an HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Air Station Elizabeth City to conduct search patterns for the two missing mariners, along with 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet.

A second 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Station Hatteras Inlet was scheduled to conduct additional searches throughout the night.

According to a “pon-pon” broadcast from the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16, the search area was centered 5.5 miles east of Engelhard.

Pictured is a graphic depicting the approximately 1,350 square miles of combined search patterns conducted by Coast Guard assets in search of two missing mariners, Jan. 9, 2019, in Palimico Sound, North Carolina. The two mariners were reported missing after the commercial fishing vessel Papa’s Girl capsized in the vicinity of the Pamlico Sound. (U.S. Coast Guard graphic)

“The marine environment is a dangerous place to work because of the cold water, rough seas and high winds,” said Rear Adm. Keith Smith, commander of the Fifth Coast Guard District. “At this point, we’ve decided to suspend further search efforts for the two missing mariners, pending further information. Our thoughts are with the families and we are very grateful to the master of the vessel, whose EPIRB saved the life of the survivor.”

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The Coast Guard’s Fifth District command center said they received a distress signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon registered to Engelhard trawler.

The trawler went down Tuesday as a strong cold front moved across the sound around 7 p.m.

A Weatherflow sensor near the wreck site between Long Shoal and Engelhard, registered sustained west winds of around 30 mph, with wind gusts of over 50 mph around the same time when the boat went down.

One of the men rescued was able to reach a life raft, while another was found in the water, according to a relative.

A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City were launched to respond.

Once on scene, the aircrew located two of the four crewmembers and transferred them to Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City for treatment.

Both mariners rescued were hypothermic, according to the Coast Guard.

WCTI-TV reported crewman Ben Poe has since been released. However, family members confirmed that Capt. Floyd “F.G.” Gibbs, who was given C.P.R. after being pulled from the water, was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

A first light search was conducted Wednesday morning by Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City aircrew members but they were unable to find the two other missing crewmembers, Keyron Davis and Sammy Douglas.

A 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Station Hatteras Inlet, along with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and a good Samaritan vessel Aubrey Niel, were still searching for the pair Wednesday afternoon.

“This is a rough case and as we continue to search, our thoughts are with the families of the mariners,” said Matthew Brooks, search and rescue coordinator for the case.

“We’re grateful for the EPIRB that was activated during the case, which enabled us to get resources on-scene as quickly as possible,” Brooks said. “A properly registered EPIRB is a vital and highly-recommended piece of equipment for mariners to have on their vessels.”

This is a developing story, stay with OBX Today for updates.

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About Sam Walker 436 Articles
Sam Walker is news director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and Classic Rock 92.3. Reach him at sam@obxtoday.com

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