Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tragedy on First Day of Bisbee

There were a good number of entries for this year's Bisbee Black & Blue Jackpot Tournament, totaling 94 all together. However, just 30 minutes after the shotgun start a boat was reported as being in trouble. The Bottom Line, 50 ft Hatteras was on fire off of Palmilla and then we heard she had sunk. We know the owner and crew of the Bottom Line well and talked to them when they came back on the rescue boat seems like this was a freak accident. They were running at 35 knots then slowed down to 30 knots, when the captain noticed a sudden drop in power. The gauges were not showing overheating engines, but then they lost all power. Captain T.J Dobson, orginally from Oklahoma but now a naturalized Mexican citizen, put the boat in neutral and told his deckhand to open the engine hatches, which spewed out a cloud of black smoke. T.J immediately called for help on the radio whilst simultaneously grabbing the fire extinguisher. A boat close by "Sneak Attack", sped over and the anglers transferred over. T.J tried to battle the blaze but even the automatic fire safety equipment in the engine room wasn't enough and the smoke was so thick within two minutes that the crew couldn't see anything and had to abandon ship to save their lives. The boat burned furiously and then sank before the eyes of her horrified owner and crew. Owner Mike Menas from Illnois lost his passport, credit card and even his wedding ring and that was just his personal items. This team were dazed, sad and in shock when we saw them a couple of hours after the incident. This was a professional team, the boat was well maintained the captian is one admired by his peers both American and Mexican alike, in fact they just took 2nd place on Sunday in the Bisbee Offshore and first place in last years' Tuna Tournament. They were told that their entries would be refunded but were later told the rules did not allow this. So tomorrow they will be going out again, aboard a boat loaned by a kind hearted local, John Moon , a 50 ft Viking, "Fearless", which we hope they will be. It would be fantastic if they went on to win the the tournament after going through this... .we're pulling for you guys.
You can see photos here scroll down to see the the ones relating to this story.

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