Coast Guard Investigation Continues into Katmai Sinking

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Marine Board of Investigation met again today to determine causes for the sinking of the fishing vessel Katmai that claimed the lives of seven fishermen October 22.

Members of the investigation board, Cmdr. Malcolm McLellan from Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C.; Lt. Scott White from the 1st Coast Guard District in Boston; and Lt. Michael Benson of Coast Guard Sector Anchorage visited the Port of Anchorage to examine evidence including recovered debris, one of the life rafts and the survival suits of the victims.

“Overall the investigation is on track. We’ve been able to interview all of the survivors, one of the owners and the Coast Guard rescuers,” said McLellan, “We have also been able to learn more about the vessel’s history and some of the potential contributing factors that may have led to the casualty.”

The Marine Board is also investigating a MAYDAY call recorded at Coast Guard Communications Station Kodiak 101 minutes before the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) transmission was received by the North Pacific Search and Rescue Coordination Center in Juneau.

The call is not confirmed to have come from the Katmai, was not heard by the Coast Guard watch stander in Kodiak and not reported as being heard by any other entities. It was discovered upon review of the recorded audio files as a part of the investigation. Click here to listen to MAYDAY call.

The board is scheduled to reconvene in Seattle tomorrow to look at a similar vessel that was built by the same ship builder in the same year to gain a better understanding of the Katmai’s structural design and internal space layout. This information will assist the board in identifying potential factors that may have contributed to the Katmai sinking.

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