Two men from the Linda Claire were pulled from the cold waters of the bay by other fishermen in the area, The (Vineland, N.J.) Daily Journal reported. Chris Serra, 27, of Commercial, the Linda Claire's captain, was hanging on to the boat's bow, while Dave Wood, 25, of Commercial was rescued by a crewman from the Sandra Lee who jumped into the water to grab him.
Charles Owens, the Sandra Lee's captain, said he and his crew spotted the third man, Josh Catlett, 24, of Port Norris, but he vanished before he could be rescued.
The Coast Guard and New Jersey State Police searched the area for hours using boats and two helicopters but found no trace of Catlett.
The Linda Claire was dredging for conch when it overturned about 8:30 a.m. The men on board were believed to have been in the water for about 20 minutes by the time other boats arrived at the scene.
Bob Bateman, Catlett's uncle and captain of a Port Norris fishing boat, said the Linda Claire might have become hung up on a wreck in an area where the bottom is littered with fishing vessels that have come to grief.
"They probably turned the vessel to get away from it and it somehow capsized the vessel," Bateman said.
Bateman called his nephew "a great guy."