Fundraising Effort Launched After Offshore Tragedy

Fundraising Effort Launched After Offshore Tragedy
Long-time fishing captain Chris Ragni, Sr. is pictured in a photo featured on the GoFundMe page organized to assist the family with the expenses of services. File Photo

OCEAN CITY — In typical fashion, the region’s fishing community is rallying around their own this week after a local angler perished in a suspected boat collision about 60 miles off the coast of Ocean City on Friday afternoon.

Around 2 p.m. last Friday, Ocean City paramedics responded aboard a U.S. Coast Guard rescue boat for a serious trauma about 60 miles off the coast following a reported boat collision. A Coast Guard helicopter was also dispatched, along with a Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) rescue boat. The Maryland State Police Trooper 4 helicopter was also alerted to head to Ocean City on standby.

The Ocean City Fire Department (OCFD) reported one patient suffered a head injury, while a second was reported to be in trauma arrest. Other private vessels in the area also responded to the area to assist with the rescue of passengers on the two vessels involved.

According to an OCFD statement, one male patient suffered a minor head injury and refused treatment. A second patient, identified as Chris Ragni, Sr., was pronounced deceased by paramedics about 25 miles off the coast of Ocean City. The Coast Guard boat carrying the OCFD paramedic team returned to Ocean City around 4:50 p.m. on Friday. The cause of the injuries and reported boat crash are under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard.

News of the boat collision offshore spread quickly through the area’s fishing community, but it wasn’t until later that it was learned the popular Ragni perished from the crash. The victim’s son, Chris Ragni, Jr., reported the tragic news in a social media post on Saturday.

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“As most of you know, my father Chris F. Ragni, passed away yesterday after a tragic boating accident while he was fishing yesterday with his buddies,” the post reads. “He passed away while doing what he loved to do, surrounded by his friends.”

Ragni, Jr. in his post thanked those who were fishing with his father. He also thanked all the first-responders that responded to the scene and did their best to save his father’s life, along with the private Good Samaritan vessels that responded to assist.

“Also thank you to everyone who arrived at the scene and assisted, especially the crew of the Leslie Anne and the Regulator,” the post reads. “And last but not least, the United States Coast Guard.”

The local fishing community quickly responded in typical fashion through a GoFundMe page set up by Captain Kevin Denison of the 3 Amigos out of Indian River Inlet.

“As most in our community know, tragedy struck on August 27, an accident at sea resulting in the loss of the local fishing legend, Chris Ragni, Sr.,” the page reads. “While I cannot imagine the grief the family is going through, I felt it important to try and relieve them from one additional burden, the cost of laying him to rest.”

The GoFundMe page created to support the Ragni family had a stated fundraising goal of $10,000. By Monday afternoon, the page had received over $18,000 in donations.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.