Planes Find Missing Smith Fishing Tug

Head of Widely Known 'Port' Firm and Two Others Aboard; All Are Reported Well

Milwaukee Journal; January 23, 1946
Port Washington, Wisconsin (AP) The Smith Brothers fishing lug Wolverine II was located by coast guard search planes eight miles east of Sheboygan shortly before noon Wednesday. Tugs directed to the scene reported that the crew was safe.

Journal Special Correspondence

Port Washington, Wis.

Coast guard craft and planes and fishing tugs were searching Wednesday for the Wolverine II, a small fishing tug overdue 19 hours on return from a Lake Michigan trip Tuesday. Aboard were Oliver Smith, head of the widely known Smith Brothers fishing company, and Lester Witte and Ray Pallazarn crew members.

It was believed here and by the coast guard that the tug probably had developed motor trouble and was drifting northeast before a strong southwest wind. No particular concern was felt that the vessel might have sunk.

No Sighting Reported

Lt. Cdr. John A Olandor of the Milwaukee coast guard station said that the cutter Sundew and a lifeboat had been sent out by that station and another lifeboat from Sheboygan. Two coast guard rescue planes were ordered out from Traverse City. Mich., he added. No sight of the Wolverine had been reported by the searchers, he said.

Also participating in the search were the other three of the Smith fleet of four tugs. The Wolverine II the only one of the four not radio equipped.

Equipped for Stay

The Wolverine put out at 10 a.m. Tuesday and was due back at 5 p.m. It was believed headed north (along the lake and going out about 20 miles for trout fishing. The lake was fairly calm when she headed out, but a wind came up later. When the Wolverine failed to appear, Smith Brothers sent out their other tugs and notified the coast guard.

The tug was carrying flares, had a small stove for heating, and food supplies, and its crew would not suffer any hardships if the craft drifted a few days in normal seas, it was said.

Added comments from Brian Smith
Indeed, the Wolverine II's engines had failed. The crew was never in much danger and knew they had to just sit and wait for the inevitable search parties to find them.
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