Mr. Costa was a native of Martha's Vineyard. He had lived in Taunton, where he worked in a foundry. He had moved to New Bedford nine months earlier. He was survived by his widow, Maria do Carmo Costa, who was expecting their first child, a son, and a step-daughter. He was also survived by his mother, Mrs. Cecile Lewis, and stepfather, Joseph Lewis, of Taunton.
At 7:05 a.m. on December 18, 1961, the scalloper Barbara & Gail lost her rudder in the fishing grounds 12 miles off Sankaty Head, Nantucket. She drifted until 4 p.m., when a Coast Guard vessel from Woods Hole arrived to tow her in heavy seas and high winds.The crew put on their life jackets and remained on the scalloper, six in the pilot house and four in the forecastle. At 6 o'clock the line parted, and another tow line was installed, but with 12-foot seas, snow, and 30-mile-per-hour winds, the Coast Guard suspended the operation for two hours. Towing began again at 11 o'clock, but the ship ran aground on Great Round Shoal. The crew used the tow rope to rig up a lifeline, but the vessel sank almost immediately. Two of the men, Edgar Kent and Ellis Kendall Jr., went over the starboard side and were rescued by Boatswain's Mate 2/c James C. Jenkins of Kittery, Maine, who jumped from the cutter into the water to save them. Clarence Roberts, Captain Sheldon S. Kent, and Yves Riendeau also were rescued from the icy water. The other five members of the crew--Calvin Roberts, Rogers DesRoches, Walter Wicherski, Joseph Costa Jr., and Terrance McCarthy--perished. The bodies of Mr. Roberts, Mr. McCarthy, and Mr. Costa were brought ashore. Three helicopters, two Coast Guard aircraft, and two Coast Guard vessels searched for Mr. Desroches and Mr. Wicherski but were unable to find them.
Edgar Kent was Captain Kent's brother, and Roger DesRoches was his son-in-law.