Reports have now confirmed Kevin Soule has died in a tragic crab fishing accident on Willapa Bay. Soule was reported missing by his wife, Heather, on May 19thwhen he did not return home from crab fishing as scheduled. Soule was reportedly fishing alone aboard the 40-foot crab boat KELLI J. An extensive search lead to the discovery of the sunken vessel on Friday. The sunken boat was discovered by Sherriff’s personnel in approximately 40 feet of water three miles northwest of Oysterville. Soule body was discovered by divers working to salvage the sunken KELLI J.
The circumstances and cause of the sinking of the KELLI J are unknown. The sunken vessel was located in an area of Soule’s crab pots and buoys. Some local fishermen have speculated the vessel possibly sank as a result of winching up on a stuck crab pot. The accident occurred as the dungeness fishing season was winding to a close in Willapa Bay.
The Nahcotta based KELLI J was owned by Shoalwater Seafoods LLC. Reports indicate that the vessel was equipped with an EPIRB, however, the electronic locating device did not activate. The accident has struck a terrible blow to Soule’s wife and two young daughters.