It is with great sadness and remorse that we here at SNOWBOARDER Magazine regret to inform you all of some terribly sad news. A Northwest legend in the making, Sean “Donkey” Mansfield and photographer Gunther Frank were sailing in the early morning hours on Friday, June 5th near Washington’s Bellingham Bay, when the boat capsized. Reportedly, of the six people on board the boat at the time, two women who swam to shore for help and two others who stayed with the boat, survived. However, Donkey and Gunther are still missing and presumed drowned.
An article in The Bellingham Herald stated, “Volunteers in kayaks and other small boats searched Saturday, June 6, for two men who have been missing since their sailboat capsized near Chuckanut Bay early Friday morning. The men have been identified as Sean Mansfield and Gunther Frank, and friends gathered where the sailboat washed ashore south of Post Point. They spent Saturday morning breaking the boat apart with an electric saw and a sledgehammer, and then loaded the debris into a truck. The U.S. Coast Guard had two boats and a helicopter searching for the men Friday morning, but it suspended the search effort pending further developments that afternoon. The Coast Guard has not received any reports of developments and didn’t resume its search Saturday, Petty Officer 2nd Class John Russell said. The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office declared Frank and Mansfield missing and presumed drowned Friday, but friends are holding out hope, said Chris Fuller, a friend of both men.”
Pat Bridges, editor of SNOWBOARDER Magazine offered this statement. “Donkey never appeared to take himself or snowboarding too seriously, often engaging in lighthearted lampoon-style antics for everyone to enjoy. I was never fortunate enough to see him in his element at Mt. Baker, but the name ‘Donkey’ always circulated through our office as a Northwest rider on the verge. He for sure could have become some sort of celebu-shred had he played the game but that never seemed to be his scene. My solemn thoughts go out to all those who knew both Sean ‘Donkey’ Mansfield and Gunther Frank.”