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Two Gloucester watermen die in boating accident

Two commercial watermen died last week in a boating accident in the Swash Channel of the Mobjack Bay near Gloucester’s Guinea Marsh.

The bodies of Phillip Brown, 47, of Guinea ,and Tony West, 31, of Hayes, were recovered a day apart. Both men were entangled in gill nets underwater, according to Laurie Naismith, spokesperson for the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

The men were reported missing to the VMRC at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, Naismith said. A concerned family member said the men had not returned home Friday evening from working their nets.

Virginia Marine Police dispatched two patrol boats and an airplane to search the area, said the release, and the pilot of the plane spotted a sunken vessel in the Swash Channel at around 1 p.m. He directed the boats toward it and Marine Police officers found Brown’s body tangled in a gill net nearby. They continued to search for West’s body until dark, and then resumed the search the following day using side-scan sonar...

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