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PenAir flight 3296 from Anchorage to Dutch Harbor has crashed after running off the runway in Dutch Harbor on Thursday.    The plane was carrying 39 passengers and three crewmen.  Tragically one man, David Oltman of Washington State, has died from injuries suffered in the crash and another was in critical condition.  Reports indicate multiple passengers suffered injuries and are receiving medical care.  Passengers aboard the plane included a high school swim team from Cordova.  All of the swim team is reported to be safe but shaken by the crash.

The plane was a Saab 2000 aircraft. The plane reportedly abandoned one previous landing attempt before a second attempt resulted in the plane skidding off the end of the runway and down an embankment.  Weather conditions at the time of the accident were reported to be rain, winds of 24 miles with gust to 31 miles per hour.

The plane was lifted from the crash by a large crane and barge on Saturday. The flight data recorder and voice recorder have been recovered from the plane and are being analyzed. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash and has sent a team of investigators to Dutch Harbor to investigate.

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            An injured crewman from the fishing vessel PHOENIX has been airlifted from the boat for emergency medical treatment. The Phoenix was working approximately 25 miles west of La Push, Washington.  The circumstances of the incident are unknown at this time.    

            Serious hand injuries frequently happen aboard Commercial Fishing Vessels. Most of those accidents may have been avoided if proper safety precautions had been followed.  In part regulations in the Fishing Vessel Safety Act, vessel owners are required to guard many parts of the machinery found in a fish factory. 

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A crewman was seriously injured Friday while working aboard the Alaska Fishing Vessel ARAHO.  The 51-year-old crewman was reportedly working in the vessel factory stacking pans when a storage crate fell upon him. The detailed circumstances leading up to the injury are currently unknown.

The crew of the ARAHO called the Coast Guard and injured crewman was airlifted by helicopter to St. Paul Island where he was to be evacuated for further medical treatment.

The ARAHO is a 194-foot Bering Sea trawler owned by O’Hara Fisheries.  The vessel was built as a state of the art fishing vessel in 2017.

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The crew of the Fishing Vessel Masonic put on survival suits and abandoned ship into the vessel life raft on Tuesday.  The 62 foot Masonic went aground near Coronation Island south east of Sitka and the crew radioed a May Day to the Coast Guard.  All crewmen have been rescued by a Coast Guard Helicopter.  The cause of the incident is unknown at this time and will be subject to further investigation.  The crew of the Masonic was prepared for an emergency and had reportedly recently undergone Coast Guard dockside examination.

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Three commercial fishermen lost their lives Tuesday when the MARY B II capsized while crossing Oregon’s Yaquina Bay Bar.  In heavy weather the Yaquina Bay bar is one of the most dangerous bars on the west coast. At the time of the incident sea conditions were reported to be 12-14 waves.  News report indicate that the MARY B II had reportedly asked the Coast Guard for an escort across the bay.  The vessel subsequently sank while crossing the bay.  Attempts to rescue the crewman failed.  One crewman was rescued by a good Samaritan vessel; however, he was unable to be revived.  Two crewmen including the vessels captain washed ashore. Lost in the accident are Joshua Porter, James Lacey and Stephen Biernacki. The accident came following more than a month’s delay in the opening of the commercial crab season.  Heavy winds and seas prevented many vessels from retrieving their pots on the first days of the season.

Further details relating to the capsizing are unavailable at this time.  Commercial fishing in Oregon and Washington remains extremely dangerous for crewman battling high winds and large seas.  Smaller vessels are at more risk during heavy weather conditions.

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October 22, 2018

A 64-year-old crewman suffered a head injury after being struck in the face by a crane hook aboard the ARCTIC STORM. Due to possible complications from blunt force trauma to the head the Coast Guard recommended medical evacuation by helicopter.  The incident happened 25 miles off the Oregon coast.  There is no news about the status of the injured fisherman. The ARTIC STORM is a 270-foot factory trawler that fishes in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.

All deckhands working with deck cranes on fishing vessels should be properly trained. All hooks, safety hooks, lines, and controls should be kept in safe operating order.  Early reports in this case indicate the crewman was struck by a “loose crane hook”.  Hooks should be secured at all times.

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An 18 year old Alaska Fisherman suffered a hand injury while working aboard the Pacific Harvester.  The vessel was fishing in Prince William Sound.  The captain of the Pacific Harvester contacted the Coast Guard for emergency medical evacuation of the crewman.  A Coast Guard launch from Valdez with a trauma technician on board transported the injured fisherman to the pier in Valdez.  The fact and circumstances of how the crewman was injured is unknown at this time.

Crewman safety aboard fishing vessel is a priority.  In almost all cases following proper safety procedures and having seaworthy equipment can prevent injury accidents from occurring.  The Jones Act and Federal Maritime Law provide protection and benefits to crewman injured while working aboard commercial fishing vessels in Alaska.


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A crewman working aboard the Alaska crab boat Patricia Lee was hit in the head by a crab pot Monday evening.  A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued the man who was suffering from a head injury  symptoms.   The injured crewman was taken to Dutch Harbor for further medical evaluation where he was reported to be in stable condition.

Working on the deck of an Alaska crab boat is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.  The crewmen who sometimes work in heavy weather conditions are at risk of injury from swinging crab pots that sometimes weigh as much as a thousand pounds. It is important that proper safety procedures be utilized to protect the crew from injuries.

In this case, following the crewman’s injury, the Patricia Lee contacted the Coast Guard for medical advice. The Coast Guard Flight Surgeon recommended that the injured crewman be medevaced from the vessel.  In total because of the Patricia Lee’s distance from shore the medical evacuation involved two separate coast guard crews and involved two different helicopters.

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A 51 year old commercial fisherman has been airlifted from the F/V Devotion 34 miles southwest of Cordova. The vessel called for medical assistance after the crewman suffered a head injury and fell.  The on duty Coast Guard flight surgeon recommended  the crewman be medevac.   The injured crewman was transferred to a nearby tug where a Coast Guard helicopter lifted him to safety.  The crewman was taken to Cordova for emergency medical evaluation.

The facts and circumstances of the crewman’s injury area unknown at this time.  Weather conditions at the scene were reported to be 15 MPH winds with two foot seas.

It is important that all crewman who suffer head injuries while working at sea get emergency medical evaluation to determine the severity of their injuries.  Improperly treated head injuries can cause severe injuries and possible death. Every crew should be trained to contact the Coast Guard Flight Surgeon for medical advice for treatment of a severely injured crewman.

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A 25-year-old crewman, Grant Hildreth has been reported missing after falling overboard from the F/V CAPE GRIEG.  The tragic accident happened on Thursday in Ugashik Bay, Alaska.  Reports indicate the crew of the Cape Grieg tried to save Hildreth by throwing him a flotation device but that Hildreth went under the water and could not be found.   The cause of the accident is unknown at this time and is under investigation.  Hildreth was not wearing a personal flotation device.  Weather at the time of incident was reported to be relatively mild with a strong incoming tide.  The Cape Greig is a 175 foot long fish processing vessel owned by F/V BEAGLE LLC and is home ported in Seattle Washington.

Few accidents at sea are not preventable if proper training and safety procedures are followed.  It is common safety practice aboard Alaska fishing vessel for crewmen working on the deck of a vessel to wear personal flotation work vests.  These vests can save lives, and vessel owners must ensure that safety rules requiring wearing safety vests are enforced.  Fishing vessel safety regulations require fishing boat crews to drill and practice in rescue procedures in the event of a man overboard situation. The maritime lawyers at Johnson Beard & Trueb PC represent the families of crewmen who have been injured or killed working at sea; they have offices located in Anchorage and Seattle.

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