The captain of the White Swan III, a South Beach-based fishing boat, is missing and presumed drowned after his boat sank about 35 miles off Florence, killing its only crew member.

The U.S. Coast Guard said in a news release on Saturday that watchmen in the North Bend sector received a distress call around midnight from Michael Morgan, 68, of Newport, captain of the 32-foot White Swan III, who said that his boat sank at the northern end of the Heceta Banks fishing grounds.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter was dispatched from Air Facility Newport to the location of the ship’s emergency position beacon and sighted a debris field and a life raft. The helicopter crew was forced to return to base due to fog and poor visibility.

A 47ft motor lifeboat crew from Siuslaw River Station recovered the body of a female Morgan crew member early Saturday morning. The Coast Guard did not release his name.

Crews from the Orcas, a 110ft Coast Guard Cutter from Coos Bay Station, a Dolphin Rescue Helicopter from North Bend Sector and a 47ft Motor Lifeboat from Umpqua River Station covered an area of ​​230 square miles offshore in an attempt to locate Morgan before suspending the search around 12:30 p.m. Sunday

“The decision to suspend an active search and rescue case is never easy, and is only made after careful consideration of a myriad of factors,” said Scott Giard, search and rescue program manager. Coast Guard Rescue, in a news release Sunday. “Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families throughout this incredibly difficult time.”

Morgan sold his catches of albacore and chinook directly to the public from the black-and-white fishing vessel moored at Pier A in South Beach, and he also commissioned charter trips.

A post on the White Swan III Facebook page, where followers were kept up to date with fishing trips and current stock, said Morgan had been fishing with a crew member for two days prior to the distress call.

Dozens of commenters shared their condolences and memories of Morgan, describing him as their “tuna guy”, a “mentor” and “a great man”.