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Four missing as fishing boat sinks off Washington coast

ASTORIA, Ore. - Authorities say four fishermen are missing after Coast Guard helicopters spotted a debris field and an oil sheen several miles off the Washington coast.

The Coast Guard says the emergency beacon from an Oregon-based fishing boat led rescuers to the debris field early Saturday.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Shawn Eggert says the ship's owner told them four people were aboard the 62-foot fishing vessel Lady Cecelia. Helicopter crews spotted a damaged lifeboat but no sign of the four people.

The debris field is about 17 miles west of Leadbetter Point near Willapa Bay. Crews were searching the water near Seaview, Wash.

The boat's home port is in Warrenton, Ore.

An MH-60 helicopter crew from Sector Columbia River, along with two 47-foot motor lifeboat crews from Station Grays Harbor and Station Cape Disappointment, were dispatched to the scene after an EPIRB distress signal from the vessel was received at 3:47 a.m.

Coast Guard crews found the debris field when they arrived to the signal's source.

The Coast Guard Cutter Cuttyhunk and an HH-65 helicopter crew from Port Angeles, a 52-foot motor lifeboat from Station Cape Disappointment and a second MH-60 helicopter crew from Astoria joined the search, along with a C-130 search plane crew from Air Station Sacramento, Calif.

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