Articles Posted in Maritime Death

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Northern Idaho authorities have confirmed that the bodies of the 3 persons missing following the Saturday night boat collision have been recovered.

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement late Wednesday that a dive team pulled the bodies from Lake Coeur d’Alene shortly after the crash.

Officials identified the dead as 34-year-old Justin M. Luhr of Medical Lake, Spokane County, 21-year-old Justin T. Honken of Post Falls, Idaho, and 21-year-old Caitlin A. Breeze of Spokane.

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A father and son, identified as 75-year-old Larry Roger McWilliams and 48-year-old Gary Roger McWilliams, died Monday, May 30th, after their fishing boat overturned in Glacier Bay National Park. The cause of the vessel capsize remains a mystery, as the weather was clear and calm at the time of the incident.

Four addition passengers aboard the privately-owned, 21-foot aluminum vessel made it to safety. Tom VandenBerg, who was aboard the vessel at the time of capsize, reported that a fellow passenger swam to a nearby island and flagged down a passing boat. He credited this effort as the sole reason that the four survived.

The fishing boat overturned about 10 miles from park headquarters, and officials swiftly dispatched large and small search vessels to the site after receiving word of the incident. Two passengers were found by charter boat operator, Jim Kerns, while others remained in the water. The crew of a tour vessel, the Wilderness Discoverer, pulled the father and son from the water to perform CPR, but were unable to revive the two.

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On Friday, June 24th, the group of friends were slowly cruising in their pontoon boat along the Rock River in Oregon. Statements from Phil Lukes, a passenger on the pontoon boat, and Al Overton, owner of River Road Marina, revealed that a fishing vessel appeared out of nowhere, and loudly commanded the attention of everyone near the river.

 The vessel struck the pontoon boat, tragically killing 31-year-old Megan Wells, who leaves behind 3 children. Nicholas Lamb, a 29-year-old passenger also aboard the boat, was transported to Rockford Memorial Hospital to be treated for his injuries.

 Both Overton and Lukes insisted that this heartbreaking incident be a message for all boaters to act with increased caution, and a call to improve safety measures.

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Spencer Vaughn Brewer, 20, was crushed between two barges and killed in the mouth of the Naknek River, AK, on June 29, 2016. Brewer, of Seattle, WA, worked as a deckhand for Naknek Barge Lines, a subcontractor of Alaska Marine Lines. The mouth of the Naknek River merges with Bristol Bay in the desolate, turbulent seas outside of Naknek and South Naknek in Southwest Alaska.

According to investigations by the Bristol Bay Borough Police Department (BBBPD), on 6/29 Brewer rode on the tug CROSS POINT from Egegik to the mouth of the Naknek River where three barges were moored. One barge’s mooring line had fouled underneath a buoy, so Brewer, wearing a PFD, transferred to a smaller vessel and then climbed onto the buoy to fix the problem. The fierce outgoing tide pushed the barge into the buoy and knocked Brewer off balance. He fell into the water and the tide sucked him underneath the barge.

Brewer resurfaced between two of the barges as they were being pushed together. Witnesses said they told him to get underwater to get out of the way. He tried, but the PFD prevented him and he was crushed.

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Two fishermen are missing and one is confirmed dead in an Oregon crab boat accident. An EPIRB signal was received late Tuesday night alerting the Coast Guard that the EAGLE III was in trouble.   The forty foot vessel had collided with the north jetty at Coos Bay and broken apart.   At the time of the incident, winds were 30 mph and seas were estimated at 8-10 feet.   The EAGLE III is home ported in Port Orford, California.  The Captain of the EAGLE III is reported to have survived the incident. The search has been suspended for the two missing crew.  The cause of the incident is under investigation.  The Coast Guard will likely investigate whether the EAGLE III was seaworthy, the crew properly trained, and whether or not navigational error may have contributed to the crewmen deaths.  The Oregon and Washington Crab fishery has again proven itself to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.  Small vessels such as the EAGLE III often face weather conditions that place them in peril.

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On March 14, 2015, a crew member on the 65′, 1000 horsepower tugboat SEA BEAR radioed for help on its way back home from the Fire Island area to New York and said the ship was taking on water and sinking. When the Long Island Coast Guard boat crew sped to the scene about one mile south of Fire Island, they found a debris field with three men in survival suits clustered together. The survivors were treated for hypothermia and taken to a hospital. A Good Samaritan tugboat that had responded to the urgent marine information broadcast (UMIB) found the dead fourth crewmember.

Water temperature at the time was reported to be about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of the deceased,” said Capt. Edward Cubanski, commander Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound. “I also applaud our dedicated and professional search and rescue crews, our port partners, local EMS, and police who responded on scene and ashore.”

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Sean O’Callahan, 29, was found deceased in his bunk aboard the F/V ALASKA DREAM as it headed out to fishing grounds off of Kodiak Island on February 28, 2015. The boat turned around when O’Callahan’s body was found, and Alaska State Troopers were notified of his death. Although nothing has been called suspicious, his remains were sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage for autopsy. The cause of death is still unknown.

According to Alaska Native News, O’Callahan, a resident of Florida, had fished in Alaska halibut, cod, salmon and crab fisheries.

His next of kin has been notified. They’ve announced that some of his ashes will be scattered at the Harbor Pier in Kodiak, and the rest will be scattered in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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At 1 pm on January 26, 2015, the Puget Sound Coast Guard received a phone call from the Kitsap County 911 operator stating that a small red and white plane had crashed in the waters of the Hood Canal. The Coast Guard launched two helicopter crews, a 45′ response boat crew, and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter HENRY BLAKE to the reported crash site. Other agency responders included personnel from Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Mason County Sheriff’s Office and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

At around 2:30 pm, a helicopter crew found airplane debris near Seabeck, Washington. Search crews recovered a driver’s license and other items which allowed investigators to identify the pilot and notify the next of kin. It is Coast Guard policy to withhold names for 24 hours after next of kin have been notified. The pilot was believed to be the only person aboard.

“Our prayers and heartfelt wishes go out to the friends and loved ones of those affected by this tragedy,” said Lieutenant Raphael Sadowitz, the command duty officer at Sector Puget Sound. “We also extend our gratitude to the good Samaritans who were quick to report the incident and the local law enforcement personnel who aided in our search. Their efforts helped ensure our ability to swiftly find the location of the crash and thoroughly cover the surrounding areas.”

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On the evening of September 29, 2014, Robert Doug Schrecengost, 59, was found dead in the water near Dock R at Shilshole Bay Marina. The Port of Seattle reported that it appears he drowned, with no signs of foul play or intentional death. Seattle Fire Department tried to revive him on route to Harborview Hospital, but he had been in the water too long. Schrecengost was a recreational boater and commercial fisherman, and he lived at the marina on his 31-foot sailboat named Del Ray.

In 2006, five similar deaths occurred at another marina in Seattle; four fishermen and one woman accidentally drowned off the docks at Fisherman’s Terminal. After complaints by fishermen and tenants, Seattle Port officials and WA Department of Labor and Industries investigated safety concerns such as slippery wood docks, lack of guard rails, inadequate lighting, and the need for more ladders and life rings. More self-rescue ladders were installed as well as other safety measures.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014, a Washington resident died while diving off the dredge ARGO off the coast of Alaska near Nome. The diver was identified as Sean Beals, a resident of Seattle.

Around 10:30 p.m., the diver was observed floating facedown in the water. The dive tender who spotted the unconscious diver and another crewmember attempted to save the diver before he was transported to the Norton Sound Medical Center. There, he was declared deceased.

There are no signs of foul play, but the details surrounding the death are hazy. AST spokesperson Megan Peters says that the cause of death could be anything from drowning to a medical emergency, and that the Coast Guard is investigating into the matter, labeling the death a major marine incident.