WEST, Philip

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WEST, Philip (1924-1970)[SS#385-14-4104], Superior Court judge from Santa Barbara who was presumed drowned in the wreck of his sailboat at Anacapa Island on April 11. Also lost was Hugh Gallagher. A third man aboard, Douglas Diehl, was rescued from ashore at Frenchy's Cove.




In the News~

April 13, 1970 [LAT]: “Judge, attorney missing at sea. Coast Guard air and surface units searched waters between Oxnard and Santa Barbara Sunday for a Ventura County Superior Court judge and a Santa Paula attorney, reported missing after their boat was wrecked. A third member of the sailing party was found safe on Anacapa Island. Missing were Judge Philip C. West, 45, of Fillmore, and attorney Hugh R. Gallagher, 43, of Santa Paula. The third man was Ventura County Dep. Marshal Douglas Deihl, 28, also of Santa Paula. Deihl told Coast Guard authorities he and the other two men set out for Anacapa from Oxnard Saturday in Judge West's 21-foot sloop, the Rosamund. He said they were about seven miles out when the aluminum mast collapsed. He said they managed to lash it to the deck and decided to go on to Anacapa, using the boat's outboard engine. The engine, Deihl said, gave considerable trouble, sputtering and stopping several times on the five mile course to Frenchy's Cove at Anacapa, where they finally dropped anchor. "We had hoped", Deihl said, "to fine someone who could give us a tow back to the mainland, but nobody was there — and then we notices the anchor was dragging..." The anchor would not hold the bottom, Deihl said, and the outboard refused to start. They were still trying to start the engine when a wave lifted the boat and tipped it over. "We were all in life jackets by then," he said, "and the judge and Gallagher came up not too far from me. We tried to head ashore, even though the cliffs are pretty steep there." Deihl said he crawled up on a rock and saw Gallagher swim by about 10 yards away, and then managed to throw the end of his life jacket to the judge as he passed. The life jacket tore in two, however, and the judge was swept around the edge of the island and out of sight. Deihl said he spent the night on the island and hailed an outboard fishing boat the next morning. That boat took him to a Coast Guard cutter. He spent the rest of the day searching for his companions. No trace was found of the two men, however. Judge West was appointed to the Superior Court bench by Gov. Reagan last Dec. 19, after serving as Municipal Court judge in Camarillo. Gallagher has practiced law in Santa Paula for 14 years.”


April 14, 1970 [Desert Sun]: “High winds wreak havoc. Ventura — Gale force winds kicking up sea swells of 15 feet, ripped boats from their moorings Monday, including a 465-foot former cruise ship, and stranded boatmen off the Southern California coast. As winds gusts up to 60 knots an hour continued through the night, Coast Guard officials were still receiving reports of boats being washed ashore or carried out to sea. The 465-foot vessel La Janelle was blown aground near the entrance to the Channel Islands Harbor Marine with two persons aboard. The ship, anchored a half-mile off the Marina near Port Hueneme, tipped over in the huge breakers after a Navy helicopter lifted the two men to safety... Meanwhile the search for a Superior Court judge and prominent attorney missing since Saturday and presumed drowned continued off Anacapa Island. Judge Philip West and Hugh Gallagher were last seen in life jackets after West's 21-foot sailboat broke up on the rocks off the island 11 miles from the mainland...”