Fisherman Likely Drowned, But Foul Play Not Suspected
A construction worker discovered the body of 56-year-old commercial fisherman Carl Lewis that washed ashore north of the drawbridge in Chincoteague Island, Virginia on January 22, 2013. WITN-TV reported Lewis was last seen during dinner at a local restaurant the previous night. He was last working aboard the SUSAN ROSE, a privately owned fishing boat. According to WITN, preliminary autopsy results showed that Lewis likely died of drowning.
The Daily Times reported that Lewis was known to have a heart condition and he reportedly fell off the SUSAN ROSE while it was docked behind Don’s Seafood restaurant. Officer Jessica Thomas of the Chincoteague Police Department told WITN that it would be hard to tell if that health issue was a factor in his death. “It doesn’t look like any foul play,” Chincoteague Police Chief Eddie Lewis told the Times.
There remains a lot of questions surrounding this fisherman’s death, but lack of rails, improper rail height and lack of proper ingress and egress to vessels are often causes of falls off of fishing vessels and fishing accidents. Failure to have railings or proper height of rails or a proper ingress and egress to the vessel are all unseaworthy and negligent conditions which subject the vessel owner and employer to liability for any injuries or death that result to crew members.
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