The Massachusetts Environmental Police have located the scalloper Leonardo, which capsized and sank Nov. 24 about 24 miles off the Vineyard. A U.S. Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod rescued one of the mariners aboard, but the other three haven’t been found, and are presumed deceased.
Environmental Police found the Leonardo on Sunday in 140 feet of water, according to Major Pat Moran.
“This type of tragedy affects everyone involved in the fishing industry,” he said, and the Environmental Police took initiative to “do our part.”
Moran said Environmental Police left the dock in New Bedford aboard the Thomas Paine at 5:30 am. Using side-scan radar, they located the vessel at about 10 am between Nomans Land and Block Island, he said. Joining Environmental Police aboard the Thomas Paine were members of the New Bedford Police marine unit, he said. Accompanying the Thomas Paine was a 45-foot Massachusetts State Police vessel with members of the State Police dive team aboard. They did not dive, he said. At about noon, a remotely operated underwater vehicle was deployed, Moran said. That vehicle revealed the Leonardo was intact and upright on the seabed, Moran said. There was “no indication of any fuel leakage,” he said. Due to tint on the wheelhouse windows, Environmental Police officials were unable to discern anything inside, he said.
The Coast Guard did not join the search Sunday, but they are in charge of the investigation, Moran noted.
Petty Officer Nicole Groll confirmed that because it’s a marine casualty, the Coast Guard is and has been investigating.