Early on the morning of October 10, 1997, Joaquim Matos noticed that some wires attached to the Lutador's trawl doors were tangled. The crew untangled the wires, but the starboard-side door got caught on a chain. Mr. Matos placed one foot on the railing of the vessel and one foot on the starboard side door, which was partially submerged. He pounded the chain with a hammer, and the door suddenly dropped. Mr. Matos fell into the water. Crew members threw two life rings into the water, but Mr. Matos did not swim toward them. Mr. Matos disappeared into the water only seven minutes after he fell from the vessel. The Coast Guard and nearby vessels searched for nearly twelve hours after the accident but were unable to find Mr. Matos.