Coast Guard investigating death of Cutter Douglas Munro crewmember

JUNEAU, Alaska – A Coast Guard member assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro (WHEC-724) was found unresponsive and later declared deceased Sunday morning in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Deceased is Seaman Ethan Kelch, 19-year-old male, from Virginia.

The cutter is in Dutch Harbor awaiting repairs. Kelch was reported missing during normal liberty hours Saturday night.

Crewmembers were deployed to conduct a ground search. A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew attached to the Douglas Munro was launched to search by air. Unalaska Fire and Police department personnel assisted in the ground search.

Search parties found Kelch unresponsive on the west side of Amaknak Island. Local emergency medical services personnel performed CPR and transported him to Iliuliuk Clinic. He was pronounced deceased at the clinic early Sunday morning.

“The Coast Guard is deeply saddened by the tragic news that we lost one of our own,” said Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr., Coast Guard 17th District commander. “As we mourn his death, we send our deepest condolences to Seaman Kelch’s family and loved ones.”

An investigation is currently underway, and the Coast Guard is working with local authorities to determine the cause of death.

Next of Kin notification has been made.

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