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Petersburg vessel sinks on Fairweather Grounds


Photo Courtesy USCG Air Station Sitka

The crew deployed their life raft and had to abandon ship. All were wearing survival suits. They were assisted in the water by Coast Guard rescue swimmer Jason Yelvington.

Owned by local fisherman Jay Thomassen, the 73-foot fishing vessel Kupreanof went down early Wednesday morning on the Fairweather Grounds.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Third Class Meredith Manning said Sector Juneau watchstanders received the mayday call from the ship's captain at 3:42 a.m. and launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Sitka.

Photo Courtesy USCG Air Station Sitka

A video camera aboard the Air Station Sitka rescue helicopter captured the Kupreanof's final moments.

The helicopter crew located the sinking vessel between Cross Sound and Yakutat Bay. Manning said the four crew members were in their survival suits, getting into their life raft.

The men, whose names were not released, were hoisted into the helicopter and taken back to Air Station Sitka where emergency medical service personnel were on scene to provide treatment.

Manning said all of the crew members were reported as being in good condition.

"We do not know what caused the boat to sink," she noted, adding an investigation into what caused the incident is in progress.

Winds were reported at 10 mph with 6 to 7-foot swells, she said.

Manning added that there was a maximum potential of 7,200 gallons of diesel on the vessel. The Coast Guard is monitoring the situation.

Thomassen owns several other vessels, according to Petersburg Harbor Master Glo Wollen.


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