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Deckhand from Naknek Barge Lines Killed on Naknek River, Alaska

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.

The Coast Guard and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are investigating, according to BBBPD.