Out of Gloucester


April 15, 1940

Baltazar Fernandes Disappears from Rio Douro

Believed stricken ill while a passenger aboard the local dragger Rio Douro, Baltazar Fernandes, 52 years, disappeared from the vessel prior to 1:40 a.m. last Thursday morning, when the craft was 70 miles southeast of Thacher's on her way to George's Banks to fish.

Capt. Albino Pereira, skipper of the dragger, and his crew searched the boat from stem to stern when they learned the man was missing.   Unable to find any trace of him, they were convinced that the man had gone overboard and drowned.  Capt. Pereira was approached by Fernandes last Wednesday afternoon and asked if he could take a trip just for the thrill of getting his sea legs again.  He had gone fishing out of Gloucester in the past.  In recent years Fernandes ran a pool room on the east end of Main Street.   The skipper agreed and when the Rio Douro sailed at 5:30 Wednesday afternoon, Fernandes was aboard.

During the evening as all were sitting around talking, Fernandes appeared to be all right, and turned in as did the rest of the crew, with the exception of the watch.  The last seen of Fernandes by any of the crew was by the man on watch at 10:30, who saw Fernandes in his bunk.  Anthony Roderick, mate, taking over the watch at 1:40 in the morning, was the first to notice Fernandes absence from his bunk, and notified the skipper.   The skipper ordered the men to make a complete search of the vessel.  Fernandes' few effects were in his bunk.

The Rio Douro continued to the fishing grounds, caught 61,000 pounds of fish and returned last night to Boston for today's market.   Her flag was at half-mast on her arrival in tribute to the lost man.  He was married and had two daughters.


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