September 05, 2004
The Coast Guard received a report at 1:20 Saturday afternoon from the captain of the Coastal Explorer who reported seeing a debris field and people in the water near Rugged Island. Passengers aboard the Coastal Explorer, a 90-ft. Kenai Fjord tour boat, spotted five people in the water. Tour boat crew members pulled three of them out immediately. Due to the draft constraints of the Coastal Explorer, the crew couldn't reach the remaining two, reportedly face down and unresponsive in the water.
A crew aboard the charter vessel Alaskan Summer, a nearby Good Samaritan vessel, pulled the remaining two from the water. Another Good Samaritan crew from the motor vessel Kenai Star delivered a respiratory physician and a registered nurse to help the victims aboard the Alaskan Summer. The victims were unable to be revived. Troopers withheld the names of the two victims pending notification of their families, but they were identified as 53-year-old and 48-year-old Anchorage residents.
According to one survivor, the five people anchored their 22-foot pleasure craft near Rugged Island in Resurrection Bay. When they began taking water over their stern and found the boat's engine inoperative, they radioed a distress call on channel 72, a frequency the Coast Guard is unable to monitor. Their vessel swamped, and they reportedly decided to swim for shore about 12:30.
The captain of the vessel Radiance heard the May Day broadcast on channel 72, which gave a location of Seward Harbor, but did not include a nature of distress. The captain notified the Coast Guard at 12:28 p.m., who requested the Seward harbor master monitor channel 72 for further broadcasts, but none occurred.
A hour later, the passengers aboard the Coastal Explorer spotted five survivors in the water. The Coast Guard verified that the boaters on board the swamped vessel were accounted for and notified the Seward police department, who organized shore side EMS personnel to meet the Coastal Explorer and the Alaskan Summer when they arrived in Seward.
The survivors were identified by troopers as Anchorage residents Yu Kim, 30; Sung M. Seo, 37; and Sam Lin, 58.
Mariners are reminded to use VHF channel 16, (156.8 MHz), the international hailing and distress frequency when calling for assistance.
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