On Saturday morning, February 11, 2017, the six-member crew of the Seattle-based crab boat F/V Destination had not yet started snow-crab harvest when the vessel unexpectedly disappeared in Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska. Weather at the time was reported as 30-mph winds with five to eight-foot seas and snowing. The air temperature was 21 degrees and sea temperature was 30 degrees.
A search was initiated by the United States Coast Guard over an area more than 5,730 square nautical miles, and included 21 coordinated searches with a total of 69 aircraft and surface hours. An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alert was received from the F/V Destination early Saturday morning, and that Kodiak aircrews were immediately deployed to initiate the search, according to news reports. A debris field w
as located by aircrews in the general area of the EPIRB alert, approximately two miles northwest of St. George Island. Debris included the transmitting EPIRB, a life ring from the vessel, buoys, tarps and an oil sheen. Taking part in the search for the six crew members and the F/V Destination were two HC-130 Hercules airplanes, two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and one MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak. The Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau, a 378-foot high endurance vessel home-ported in Honolulu, Hawaii, also joined the search. Around-the-clock watch standers in the 17th District command center coordinated the search and communications.
With great sadness, the Coast Guard reported the suspension of the search for the six missing crew members of the F/V Destination. The Coast Guard will continue to investigate the cause of the incident.
James Gooding and Heather Webb of GLP Attorneys represent the family of one of the men lost on the F/V Destination, and Mr. Gooding stated that “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families involved. We are going to do whatever we can to determine what happened and to bring closure to this terrible event.”
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