F/V Sea King, the F/V Mermaid and the USCGC Triumph

January 11, 1991 saw the loss of the fishing vessel Sea King on the Columbia River bar. The 75-foot boat capsized and sank while under tow. David Haynes was one of two fishermen, and one Coast Guardsman (Charles Sexton) died during the rescue. 

Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard features a list of lost fishing vessels from the Oregon and Washington coasts (click to see it on a chart)

Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard features a list of lost fishing vessels from the Oregon and Washington coasts (click to see it on a chart)

Thirty years earlier, January 12, 1961, the F/V Mermaid lost their rudder and required rescue, resulting in the loss of five Coast Guard crewmen, the two Mermaid crew, the vessel Mermaid, the USCG Motor Lifeboat Triumph and the CG Utility boat 40564 in one of the worst tragedies of the Pacific Graveyard’s history.

Author brings background to Coast Guard tragedy Olympian story on Gary Hudson’s self-published book, They Had to Go Out
Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard, chart featuring shipwrecks and lost fishing vessels of the area
Historic daily events in Coast Guard history, listed by month at the Patriot Files Dedicate to the preservation of military history
Charles W. Sexton (Coast Guardsman lost during the Sea King rescue)


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18 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i was woundering if u could noyify me on any events on january 9th 1991 my dad was one of themen who killed and i just need answers

    • Hello,
      I was a Coast Guardsman on watch the night your father died. You can e-mail me and I’ll tell you what I can.

    • Amanda,

      i am sorry u lost your dad i am actually engaged to Nathan Yuill davids nephew im sure u remember him right?? please contact us as of facebook or myspace if u would like too thanks Spoiledmandibaby@yahoo.com

    • Amanda,
      I would like to offer my condolence to you and your family for the lost of your Dad. I knew your father, he was a great friend, mentor, leader, father, Coast Guardsman and engineer. I have alot of respect for him. My name is Richard Vermillion, I was the engineer on the MLB Triumph which was towing the Sea King when the tragedy happen. Please feel free to e-mail me and I can tell you what I know.

  2. I can provide some background info as well. I was an engineer aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Iris when the SEA KING was lost. We had plenty of people in the engine room for the special sea detail, so I went up to the bridge to see what was going on. I hadn’t been there very long when it happened.

    • I would be very interested in your observations. If you read the other comments, you might have seen the comment from the young lady whose father died that day. She expressed an interest in connecting with those that were there. If you don’t mind, I would like to forward your offer to her.

      Thanks for visiting….

      Liz McMaster http://www.historyinvogue.com

  3. Liz,
    Please feel free to pass along my contact info to whomever you would like.

  4. Liz,
    You may pass my contact info along as well.

  5. The annual Memorial service for the Triumph/Mermaid and Sea King will be held this Saturday the 9th at 1030am. Please meet at the Cape Disappointment Coast Guard Station on the Mess Deck. Service will start at 1100am.

    Please email me if you have any questions.

    • Jeff,
      Greeting, I am Richard Vermillion from Cape D. Here is my e-mail address. brvermillion9@msn.com. Write and say hello.

      • Rich,

        I sent an email to your address through my Hotmail account.


  6. I just found out from the above posts that there is an annual memorial for the Triumph and that we just missed it this month. I would like to be notified of the 50th in 2011. My wife’s uncle was Ralph Mace, who was lost at sea during the rescue attempt in 1961.

    Thanks for any information.

    • I recently became aware also, for the first time, that there are memorial services for the lives lost at sea which occurred on 12 January 1961. I’m also related to Ralph Mace as he was one of my cousins. My husband and I plan to attend the 50th anniversary in January weather permitting. Perhaps we will see you there!

  7. Hi,
    I too was a Coast Guardsman, that was involved in the Sea King rescue on Jan 11, 1991. I was stationed at the National Motor Lifeboat School, and served with Petty Officer Sexton. Our boats were out on the rescue from the time it began. I spent most of the evening searching the beach. I was just out of bootcamp, and had only been in Ilwaco for a month or so. It was hard to know that someone you had just talked to early in the morning, had passed away a few hours later. It was a very sad day for the Coast Guard, as much as it was for the family of the fisherman. I too would be willing to share more of the story, if any one would be interested. My email address is rbeery@clearwire.net.

  8. My uncle John died on the Sea King…I would like more info…Mblunk23@live.com. Please. Mindy Blunk

  9. I lost my husband off the mouth of the columbia on November 29th the Midnight Express went down 1 lone survivor and 4 lost. I had 3 small children at the time. I would really loke to find the newspaper articles or anything written about this tragedy however I am not going to the right source. My 2 surviving daughters would love to be able to see some of the articles that were printed in all national newspapers. I had a scrapbook of articles and our home was burned and I lost my son also in the fire. I would really like to get some of these articles as it was 30 years ago. If you could email me at nmbielman@hotmail.com with any tips or information I would greatly appreciate it.. My name is Nancy. Oh by the way my father was in the coast guard at Cape D. I grew up in Chinook. My family was all very close to the bergmans that were lost on the mermaid. It was 20 years later that my husband was lost.

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  11. Normally I don’t read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so!
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