Sailor was bumped off doomed fishing boat

March 27, 2009 3:41:55 PM PDT
It was one week ago Friday that fishing trawler Lady Mary set sail from Cape May, New Jersey.The boat sank early Tuesday morning about 75 miles off-shore.

Only one of the seven crew members survived.

Action News caught up with veteran fisherman Dominic Sofia, who signed up to be on the Lady Mary, but was bumped at the last minute when the captain's brother showed up at the dock.

"He told me that 'We got everybody,' and I threw their lines off for them when they left," Sofia said. "That was the last I seen of them."

"I'm just glad I didn't go out there. I guess it was my lucky day. But, they're my friends. It's sad."

The Coast Guard and the NTSB are investigating this tragedy.

But, for Sofia, knowing what happened won't make up for the loss.

"They're in my prayers. I'm sorry for the family," Sofia said as he choked back tears. "I really feel sad for the family. It's a tragedy, and God bless their souls."

"We all loved them, and we're going to miss them. They're going to be missed. They're very good people."

Three people were pulled from the water in the hours after the boat sank. Two men, Roy "Bobo" Smith, 42, and his brother, Timothy "Timbo" Smith, 37, both of Middle Township, New Jersey, died.

An extensive search failed to turn up any trace of Tarzan Smith, 59, and William Torres, both of Wildwood, N.J.; Frankie Credle, who had been living on the boat; and Frank Reyes of Cape May Court House, N.J.

The sole survivor of the sinking was Jose Luis Arias, 57, a native of Chiapas state in Mexico who lived in Wildwood, N.J. and Raleigh, N.C.

The Coast Guard will hold a hearing April 6 into the sinking of the Lady Mary.

The purpose is to investigate the circumstances related to Tuesday's sinking.

The panel hopes to develop conclusions and recommendations to improve the safety and operations of similar vessels.

The National Transportation Safety Board will participate.

Services for two of the men who were recovered are scheduled for Monday in North Carolina.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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