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March 12, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Lost fisherman’s “thing was the ocean,” father says

Luke Jensen (Photo courtesy of the Jensen family)

On Wednesday morning, Luke Jensen texted his father from 10 miles out at sea, west of Long Beach. Jensen, 22, had landed a last-minute spot on the crew of the Lady Cecelia, a 70-foot fishing trawler based in Warrenton, Ore.

“Hopefully I’ll make an impression and can stay on,” he wrote to his father, David Jensen.

The Lady Cecelia, with four people aboard, sent a distress signal at early Saturday morning. A Coast Guard search found debris, an oil sheen and a fully inflated but empty life raft, but no sign of the men. The search was suspended Sunday, with the men presumed dead.

“I think I’ve gotten to the point that I know I’ll never get over it, and I don’t want to,” David Jensen said Monday. “But I’ll learn to live with it.”

Luke Jensen “has always been nuts about fishing,” his father said. The family moved to Ilwaco while Luke was a child, and Luke Jensen crewed aboard charter boats while still in at Ilwaco High School, where he graduated in 2007. He fished on a small family fishing boat, then spent the past several summers aboard a gill-netter out of Alaska’s Bristol Bay while at Humboldt State University, where he was majoring in freshwater fisheries. When home, he frequented a favorite spot on Willapa Bay’s Bear River, fishing catch-and-release for hours, by himself.

He took a break from studies and moved to Warrenton, a fishing port just across the Columbia River from Ilwaco. “His thing was the ocean,” said David Jensen, an architect in Ilwaco.

In his last text message to his father, Jensen said he landed the crew spot on the Lady Cecelia because another crew member didn’t show up.  Jensen wrote that planned to be back on Tuesday.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: fishermen, Lady Cecelia, Luke Jensen

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