Out of Gloucester


December 2, 1940

Mackerel Fisherman Is Swept To Doom

A Gloucester mackerel fisherman was thrown off balance when the local seiner Catherine Graffeo gave a lurch in heavy seas shortly after midnight Sunday, and was hurled into the icy water off Block Island, and drowned in the sight of his dory mates.

The unfortunate fisherman was Michaelangelo "Charlie" Dimino, 43 years old, father of four young children ranging in ages from 5 to 9 years of age  He was sighted once after he went over board but the crew were unable to reach him  Tony Shuilaffo of Commercial street, who was standing nearby Dimino, had a narrow escape from a similar fate but with presence of mind, fell atop the seine to get a purchase and thus saved himself.

The seiner reported the tragedy as the vessel arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, early yesterday morning with 25,000 pounds of small mackerel.  The vessel will return here after selling her trip, and go on the railways for overhauling preparatory to changing over to dragging.  Capt. Jerome Frontiero, skipper of the Catherine Graffeo, told the man's family here yesterday that the Graffeo had just completed seining the mackerel, and had hauled in the seine onto the stern deck of the seiner.  Domino and Shuilaffo were standing on top of the stairs as the skipper turned around to go forward.  At this moment, the heavy running sea caused the 104 foot vessel to give a sudden lurch, which caught Dimino off balance and tossed him off the stern into the icy water.  The skipper believes that Dimino must have struck his head against the side of the boat as he went overboard for when the crew next saw him he appeared to be unconscious.

Shuilaffo hastily fell to his knees on top of the seine, grasping at the twine as he felt the lurch, and saved himself from going overboard.  He shouted to the skipper who immediately set about in an effort to rescue Dimino.  They succeeded in launching the small boat when they saw Dimino come to the surface, but the man remained in sight for a brief moment when weighted down by his rubber boots and oilskins, he disappeared from sight.  The Graffeo cruised in the vicinity for more than an hour but never sighted Dimino again.

Hoisting their American flag to half-mast, they headed for Newport.   Dimino, who had been with the Catherine Graffeo all summer and fall had been mackerel seining and dragging since he was  a youngster. 


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