Sunday, October 21, 2007

Skipper Charged In Fatal Oregon Fishing Boat Wreck

The 23-year-old skipper of a fishing boat that crashed on the Tillamook jetty in January has been indicted on manslaughter and negligent homicide charges in the death of a crew member. Kirk Opheim also was charged in Tillamook County with recklessly endangering another person and boating under the influence of methamphetamine. A warrant was issued for Opheim's arrest, but authorities and his family say they do not know his whereabouts.
The Starrigavan
Opheim was at the helm of a 58-foot steel-hulled boat called the Starrigavan when it headed over the Tillamook Bay bar on Jan. 25 with 5,000 pounds of crab. It was hit by a 25-foot wave and Opheim had just enough time to radio for help when two more waves struck, rolling the boat three times before slamming it onto the rocks. One of the crewmen, 50-year-old Ken "Skinny" Venard of Newport, died after the crew was rescued.

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