May 5th, 2009


Baering Sea - Fi/V Katmai

Coast Guard suspends Katmai crew search

ANCHORAGE — The Coast Guard suspended its search Sunday for two crew members in the deadly sinking of a fishing vessel that took on water in stormy seas last week near the Aleutian Islands.

Carlos Zabala, 30, of Helena, Mont., and Robert Davis, 49, of Deming, Whatcom County, were among an 11-member crew aboard the 93-foot Katmai when it began taking on water and sank early Tuesday.

A three-member investigative panel is expected to hear testimony today in Anchorage from the surviving crew members as well as representatives of Katmai Fisheries, of Seattle, the boat's owner. The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating the sinking.

The Coast Guard said it suspended the search for the two missing after conducting an unsuccessful search of 4,871 square miles of ocean.

"While our minds remain on Coast Guard missions, our hearts are with the families during this difficult time," Capt. Mike Inman, chief of response for the 17th Coast Guard District, said in a news release.

Petty Officer Richard Brahm said Sunday that if anything turns up in the days to come, the Coast Guard can reopen the search. Fishing vessels in the area are expected to continue to keep a lookout, he said.

The Coast Guard and the Air National Guard conducted the search, using the cutter Acushnet from Ketchikan, MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters, a HC-130 Hercules aircraft and pararescue swimmers. Two good-Samaritan fishing vessels also helped to recover the dead.

The five bodies that were recovered were identified as those of Joshua Leonguerrero, 19, of Spanaway; Cedric Smith, 38, of Portland; Glenn Harper, 35, of Portland; Jake Gilman, 22, of Camas, Clark County; and Fuli Lemusu, 44, of Salem, Ore.

Four of the crew survived, including Capt. Henry Blake, 40, of Worcester, Mass. The three other survivors were identified as Adam Foster, 23, of Shoreline, and Harold Appling, 30, and Guy Schroeder, 50, both of Anchorage.

The four were rescued from a life raft 17 hours after the fish-processing vessel sank in a severe storm. Those who survived were found wearing survival suits and in a life raft. The five bodies that were recovered were in survival suits but floating in the water.

According to the Coast Guard, when problems began the Katmai sent an e-mail to a nearby vessel to say it was taking on water in the rear, where the steering was housed.

All of the crew were able to get into survival suits, according to members of another fishing vessel in the area that received the e-mail.


Just watch Deadliest Catch - they showed the material related to the sinking, and the survivors stories.

And I'm crying.

It was so sad - these men had families - one man had six children, another - four. Davis went down to the engine room and died, they assume, when the vessel went down - he was trying to restart the pumps when the rest of the crew abandoned ship. They left a suit in the wheel house - but they don't think he ever came up.

The other man was washed away when one of the life rafts over turned - he had a puncture in his surivial suit - he died because of it.

I know this hardly seems relevant but...I dunno.

I'm still crying now.

Maybe later I can say something for this - but now....

It's horrible.