By Nick Mallard
KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — For the second time in less than a month, tragedy has struck a family with roots in Ayer.
Just weeks after Joseph Isenberg, a junior at Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford who lived in Ayer with his mother, died of injuries sustained during a skateboarding accident in Maine, Douglas Isenberg — the 17-year-old’s father died after the 24-foot pleasure boat he was fishing on sank off the coast of Maine on Friday.
The elder Isenberg — who lived in Biddeford — was fishing for tuna aboard the Job Site 2 with his longtime friend, Nick Masi, and two others about five miles off Cape Porpoise after the ship’s anchor line was caught in the propeller about 3:10 p.m., causing engine issues and resulting in the boat taking on water.
“It happens quick,” said Masi, the ship’s captain and a paraplegic.
All four men on board the Job Site 2 were eventually pulled onboard other vessels, including a 48-foot yacht and a lobster boat, but Isenberg was unresponsive by the time Coast Guard boats and a helicopter were able to reach the location.
“They were in the water about half an hour with survival suits on,” said Jack Wilson, a close friend of the Isenberg family. “Doug helped get Nick onto the yacht, but then he was under a bit of duress.”
The crews on the vessels that pulled Masi’s men onboard gave immediate medical attention to the 47-year-old Isenberg.
“The civilians on the boat were giving him CPR for such a long time that I thought he was going to make it,” Masi added. “Everybody was doing everything they could for him.”
The cause of death had yet to be determined last night.
“They weren’t just out on the ocean messing around,” Wilson said. “This was what they did. They’d go out fishing, and they took it very seriously.”
The 24-foot Job Site 2, owned by Masi, was salvaged over the weekend.
“It’s hard to believe something like this could happen,” Wilson said. “Doug loved fishing, and he’d bring Joey out with him sometimes because they enjoyed fishing together. It just seems unreal that this could happen.”
For Masi, the shock of what happened has begun to set in.
“He’s been such a good friend to me, and we were starting to live the dream of fishing for a living,” he said. “It’s just such a terrible thing to have happen.”