Katmai Update – Four Survivors Found

Anne Hillman/KUCB, Jay Barrett/KMXT

A 92-foot cod fishing and processing vessel is missing in the Aleutian Islands. The Katmai, which is homeported in Kodiak, was in Amchitka Pass, west of Adak, when it disappeared. As of 5 p.m., four survivors have been found and rescued, and the bodies of two more of the 11 crewmen have been recovered. None of the crewmen have been identified.

The Coast Guard responded to an EPIRB from the ship at about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, but received no mayday call. An MH-60 Jayhawk and two C-130 aircraft were dispatched from Air Station Kodiak. The C-130 dropped life rafts at the site of the beacon, but saw no trace of the boat. Visibility was just a few miles in rain and snow. Winds were over 30 knots and seas were 10- to 15-feet.

Coast Guard petty officer Wes Shinn said when the Jayhawk first arrived, the crew only found an empty survival suit and a partially inflated life raft, but on a second search over the debris field early Wednesday afternoon, they found the body of a crewman wearing a survival suit with the name of the Katmai on the back. His body is being flown to Adak. He has not been identified.

A C-130 and a Blackhawk helicopter from the Alaska Air National Guard also responded to the search. The Good Samaritan fishing vessel Courageous is helping, and the cutter Acushnet is also en route. Another Good Samaritan vessel is scheduled to be in the area by Wednesday evening. So far, only buoys, fishing gear, a life raft, a life ring, and an empty survival suit have been found.

The Katmai is home-ported in Kodiak and was headed towards Dutch Harbor. It is owned by Katmai Seafoods of Seattle. A spokesman there said the crew was from the Pacific Northwest. The Katmai was participating in the state pot cod fishery. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says Henry Blake the third was the ship’s skipper.

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