NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 8, 2013

Body taken from herring trawler

Police find drugs aboard; no foul play seen

Gloucester Police are teaming up with U.S. Coast Guard officials to investigate the offshore death of a 40-year-old man aboard a 107-foot herring trawler that arrived in Gloucester late Sunday afternoon — and with a small amount of a class A substance found on the vessel, authorities said.

Crew members aboard the trawler Osprey first called in a report of a crew member, Michael Grindle, suffering what they said appeared to be a “severe asthma attack” about 3:45 a.m. Sunday, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officials have ruled out foul play in Grindle’s death. And Essex County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Carrie Kimball Monahan said Sunday night that the incident “appears to have been the result of a medical emergency; however, the coroner must determine the manner of death.”

Sources close to the case, however, said the death is being investigated as an “unknown medical condition” that killed Grindle, who resides in Blue Hill, a coastal town in Maine, but had been fishing aboard the Osprey for about two months and living at a Mystic Avenue home in Gloucester while working out of the port, said Police Chief Leonard Campanello.

When the trawler dialed in at about 65 miles away from Chatham early Sunday morning, the Coast Guard ordered the vessel to dock at its nearest station, which happened to be Gloucester. The crew then steamed north and the green vessel tied up at the otherwise vacant Empire fish wharf adjacent to Coast Guard Gloucester about 4:30 p.m. Three members of the medical examiner’s office, clad in blue shirts, hoisted a body bag from the vessel not long after.

Police had found Grindle’s body on the floor of his stateroom. Also in the room, police found a “small amount of an undisclosed substance,” consistent with Class A substances, which can include heroin.

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