Fishing Vessel Katmai Investigation Continues

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Marine Board of Investigation that is investigating into the cause of the sinking of the fishing vessel Katmai hear testimony for the second day October 28.

Survivors Harold “Ryan” Appling and Guy Shroder both testified about the events that led to vessel’s sinking and the loss of seven other shipmates. The pilot of the rescue helicopter as well as the rescue swimmer also testified to the search and rescue of the crewmembers.

Appling, who is brand new to the fishing community, was a crewmember as well as a fish processor on the Katmai. During his testimony, he told the board of the average day-to-day routine the crew participated in when they fished and processed the fish. He then went into detail about the events leading up to when the boat lost steering, abandoning ship and finally rescued by the Coast Guard.

Shroder, a seasoned fisherman who says he has served on 100 boats in the past 32 years, had reported to the Katmai July 2008 as the deck boss. His testimony offers a possible insight as to how the water was able to get from the lazarette into the engine room. He also testified how he attempted to power up the crane to move weight around on the deck but could not get power to the crane to be able to do so.

Both crewmen talked about their experience of survival in the rescue raft after abandoning ship. Appling went into detail about the waves tossing the raft multiple times throwing the men into the water repeatedly. Every time they would swim back and conduct a head count. Shroder also talked about how hard the waves hit the raft, scattered everyone, and then swam back to the raft and located the other survivors by the lights on their survival suites.

The rescue helicopter pilot and rescue swimmer, Lt. Zachary Koehler and Petty Officer First Class Dave Coats recounted their search and rescue efforts. When the survivors were located in the raft by the helicopter flight mechanic, the aircrew saw the survivors waving. Coats was lowered into the water and was able to hoist all four survivors into the helo. He said he noticed they were all alert, the were “very viable survivors.”

The Marine Board of Investigation will reconvene Monday, November 3 at 9:30 a.m. at the Jackson Federal Building in Seattle. The board is scheduled to interview personnel who have examined and surveyed the vessel when it was last in dry dock , as well as previous crewmembers.

The proceedings will be opened to the media and to the public.

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