Out of Gloucester


July 7, 1953

Captain Is Lost At Sea

Capt. J. O. "Dick" Bunting, 43 years, of Jeffs Postoffice, Virginia, master of the auxiliary fishing dragger P. K. Hunt, was lost overboard from the dragger last Friday morning off Shelburne, N. S.

The Hampton, Va., ocean perch dragger, here for summer fishing, arrived in port yesterday morning, her flag at half-mast in honor of her late skipper.  Mate James Sheaves was at the wheel.  Mate Sheaves and others of the crew went to Coast Guard headquarters at Boston yesterday afternoon and related the story of the tragedy to Coast Guard and FBI officials.  Both government agencies then declared the shipper's death as accidental by drowning.

The P. K. Hunt was towing the drag at the time, about 10.30 o'clock Friday forenoon off Nova Scotia, when the late Capt. Bunting, standing by the rail. lost his balance and fell overboard as the dragger lurched.

It was foggy at the time, and there was some seas according to report.   One of the crew in the pilot house saw the skipper as he fell overboard, and immediately notified the gang.  They could see him in the water for a moment, weighted down with boots and clothes.  They threw him a lifeline but he was unable to grab it.  They lost no time in cutting away the drag and tuning the craft about in an effort to reach the skipper but none of them saw any sight of Capt. Bunting again.

The late Capt. Bunting was married and had two children.   He had many friends along the Gloucester waterfront and in town.  Everyone had a good word for Dick Bunting.  The news of his loss was received here with the sincerest regret.

[At the Fishermen's Memorial ceremony on August 9, 1953, special recognition was paid to Capt. Joseph Otis Bunting.  More than 20 relatives and friends from Virginia paid tribute to the captain, including his wife, son, daughter, sister, and nephew.  Wreaths were strewn on the water in Capt. Bunting's memory by his son and daughter.]


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