Central Oregon man missing in Bering Sea

Search efforts fruitless after tumble from fishing vessel

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin / @DylanJDarling

A Central Oregon man is missing and presumed dead after going overboard Wednesday from a fishing vessel into the chilly waters of the Bering Sea.

Eric Eder, 43, moved to Redmond from Waldport in September, his sister, Shelly Heim, told the Newport News-Times for the Friday paper. She told the paper he is survived by his wife, Adrienne Eder , and two sons, Bennett, 5, and Oliver, who was born five weeks ago.

Formerly of Waldport himself, Ed Pond, 70, of Redmond, said he was happy to see Eder move to Central Oregon recently. The two had been neighbors in Waldport and he was excited to live near him again.

“He’s a great kid,” Pond said Friday. “He was well-liked, well-respected.”

Having fished the Bering Sea for more than 20 years, Eder left for Alaska earlier this month, Heim told the News-Times.

“We’re not sure what exactly happened,” she told the paper. “There has been some speculation, and we understand that the weather was bad.”

A fisherman on the Newport-based vessel, Seeker, went overboard just before 8 a.m. Wednesday, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant DeVuyst of the U.S. Coast Guard in Juneau, Alaska. Winds blew at about 35 mph and waves broke at 8 to 10 feet at the time , he said. The air temperature was 23 degrees, and the water was 42 degrees .

He said it was unclear what caused the fisherman, whom he declined to identify, to fall into the sea.

“We don’t know that right now,” DeVuyst said.

The crew of the 87-foot Seeker was fishing for cod, DeVuyst said, and there were other boats nearby trying to catch crab and pollock. The Seeker first put out a message Wednesday morning asking for help in finding a fisherman who went overboard, and then the Seafreeze Alaska, another fishing ship, relayed the message to the Coast Guard.

A Coast Guard helicopter and cutter joined the ships in the search but they didn’t find the fisherman. DeVuyst said the search covered 64 square miles of sea and lasted 10 hours.

Eder’s friends and family are planning a balloon launch in his honor Sunday at Ona Beach State Park between Newport and Waldport on the Oregon Coast, and a memorial service March 22 at Eagle Crest Resort, according to posts on Facebook by his sister and others .

Eder graduated from Waldport High School, where he was a runner and basketball player, Pond, his former neighbor, said. Eder, As many who grow up on the coast, Eder was drawn to commercial fishing despite the dangers brought by long hours and sometimes wicked weather.

“That is probably one of the most dangerous jobs in the world,” Pond said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7812, ddarling@bendbulletin.com