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The Heretic

The Heretic

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USCG HISTORY:
On this day, February 12, 1997- Three of four crewmembers of MLB-44363 out of the Quillayute River Motor Lifeboat Station were lost in the line of duty when they responded to a distress call from the sailing vessel Gale Runner. They were BM2 David A. Bosley, MK3 Matthew E. Schlimme, and SN Clinton P. Miniken.
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...In memory of BM2 David Bosley, MK3 Matthew Schlimme and SN Clinton Miniken
These poor plain men, dwellers upon the lonely shores, took their lives in their hands, and at the most imminent risk, crossed the most tumultuous sea…, and all for what? That others might live to see home and friends.
On the night of February 12, 1997, the crew aboard a 31-foot sailboat, the Gale Runner, became trapped during a violent storm in the waters off the rugged and often dangerous Pacific Northwest coast near La Push, Wash. The master attempted to escape the fury of the storm by sailing to a nearby marina, but that attempt was thwarted when 25-foot waves and 30-knot winds demasted the boat and blew out hatches and portholes.
After the vessel became flooded and the engine failed, it began to drift dangerously toward nearby rock formations. The crew called for help.
First to answer the call was a search and rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Quillayute River, Wash. Within minutes, the four-man crew did what Coast Guard small boat crews are known for doing - heading into treacherous waters while other mariners retreat.
As their 44-foot, steel-hulled motor lifeboat (MLB) crossed the Quillayute River bar and plunged into the storm, a towering wave rolled the boat. The boat righted itself and the crew pressed on. The tumultuous sea struck back and rolled the boat two more times, ripping the superstructure off and leaving three of the four-man crew in the churning waters.
Miraculously, the fourth crewman remained tethered to the boat and made it to land after ocean currents pushed the crippled boat onto nearby James Island.
Lost in the accident were Petty Officer Second Class David Bosely, Petty Officer Third Class Matthew Schlimme and Seaman Clinton Miniken.
The two people aboard the battered sailboat were later rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter crew moments before the boat struck the rocks.
http://uscgqr.weebly.com/in-memory-of-mlb-44363.html
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Coast Guard, Town Grieve -- 3 Crew Members Die As Rescue Boat Capsizes; 1 Survives
By Linda Keene, Jennifer Bjorhus
Seattle Times Staff Reporter
FORKS, Clallam County - Sandi Bosley cradled herself in her own arms yesterday, trying to understand why her husband - "my friend, my lover, my pal" - had died that morning in a Coast Guard rescue mission off the coast of La Push.
"I still don't believe it is true," Bosley said of her husband's death and the capsizing of a Coast Guard rescue boat that also killed two other crewmen. "I can't believe he's not going to come wheeling down the road here, tear into the carport and walk inside."
Her 36-year-old husband, Petty Officer 2nd Class David Bosley, was part of a four-person crew that was sent into a raging storm early yesterday morning to rescue a Bremerton couple from their sinking sailboat. The couple survived, but three Coast Guard crew members died and a fourth was injured.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Schlimme, 24, of Whitewater, Mo., and Seaman Clinton Miniken, 22, of Snohomish, also died in the accident. Nineteen-year-old Seaman Apprentice Benjamin Wingo of Bremerton, the most junior member of the team, survived. He suffered only cuts and a broken nose.
The crew was sent out at about 12:30 a.m. in a 44-foot motor lifeboat that is designed to operate in rough conditions and right itself when capsized. A second rescue boat also responded to the distress calls from the sailboat, which was operated by Kenneth Schlag, a Navy lieutenant assigned to the USS Carl Vinson, and his wife.
The couple were sailing from California to Bremerton, where the Vinson is based, when high winds and waves pushed their boat, the Gale Runner, into a group of jagged rocks called The Needles near the mouth of the Quillayute River.
The Schlags - who had been living aboard the sailboat - were plucked from the boat in a dramatic rescue by a Coast Guard helicopter. Both were treated for minor injuries and released from the Forks Community Hospital yesterday.
One of the rescue boats crossed the river bar safely, but communication with the other was lost. A red distress flare was spotted at 12:55 a.m., and four more flares were seen 15 minutes later as the crew on the surviving rescue boat tried to locate their missing counterparts.
Where, exactly, the boat capsized yesterday isn't clear yet. Another mystery is how the capsized boat and three crew members, including Wingo, wound up deep inside a cove on James Island, just off the coast.
Today, four Coast Guard officials from around the country were to begin arriving and will take over the investigation into what caused the acccident.
The team's leader, Capt. Carmond Fitzgerald of Detroit, was on his way this morning to the Coast Guard station at La Push, called the Quillayute River Station.
One of the four investigators is a medical doctor who will review autopsy reports to determine how the men died.
The team also hoped to fly tomorrow via helicopter to the site of the wreckage, where investigators already are concerned that tides could sweep it away.
Early reports of what caused the boat to capsize indicate that it got caught parallel to incoming waves and rolled three times, said Coast Guard Chief Kurt Looser.
The team also intends to re-interview Wingo, though for now, authorities are allowing him to rest.
"We intentionally are not pressing him for information at this stage," Coast Guard Commander Ken Armstrong said today in Seattle. "He needs to recover mentally and physically."
Wingo was released from the Forks hospital yesterday afternoon and returned to the Coast Guard station in La Push. There, he spoke with Rear Admiral J. David Spade, district commander for Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
"This is truly a tragic day for the Coast Guard," said Spade, standing outside the small brick station, under a U.S. flag lowered to half-staff.
He peered toward the ocean, where rocky James Island stood impassively amid the white waves.
It was the first fatal capsizing for that type of rescue boat in its 35-year history. But the Coast Guard said yesterday it has been phasing such boats out of service.
The crew members were wearing survival suits and were in communication with the second Coast Guard boat, Spade said. But they lost contact, and the second boat was unable to rescue members from the first.
Help also came from about 100 members of the Quileute Tribe, who live on the La Push Reservation and have formed a strong relationship with the Coast Guard. Early yesterday, they fanned out on the beaches searching for survivors until tribal police Chief Ken Lewis was forced to order everybody off the beach because conditions were too dangerous.
"The sea was just boiling," Lewis said. "It was raging. The last time I had seen it like this was when the Gambler went down. . . . We had a massive search then."
The Gambler, a 45-foot fishing boat, capsized in January 1990 off La Push, killing seven people.
During yesterday's search, Lewis said the wind was so strong people couldn't hear each other talk. At least two people were injured on the shore during the search. " . . . to be told the Coast Guard rescue boat was lost and the guardsmen were in the water, that was really a shock. Incomprehensible," Lewis said.
That sentiment was heard throughout La Push yesterday as tribal members posted signs expressing their sorrow. "Our hearts, prayers and thoughts are with the Quillayute River Coast Guard families and friends," read a sign posted near a Coast Guard housing base.
"It's a big tragedy and loss," said Quileute member Nancy Williams. "This community is so tight with the Coast Guard."
At the town's Post Office, Postmaster Maureen McGarrett talks daily with many Coast Guard families. "This is hard on everyone," she said. "The Coast Guard families are so much a part of this community."
In the small timber town of Forks, just 15 winding miles from La Push, the tragedy was equally felt. At the hospital, clerk Jamie Schneider learned of one of the deaths last night.
"Oh my God," she said when hearing Schlimme's name. He was married to one of her friends, Christy Schlimme, who works at a Subway sandwich shop in Forks.
"He was just wonderful, very sweet to everybody," Schneider said. "And they were just about to transfer back home."
Schneider said the couple had been married several years and had no children. None of the guardsmen who died had children.
The Bosleys met in 1979 and had been "joined at the hip since then," said Sandi Bosley while sitting in her small Forks cottage. She slumped, looking at a picture of her husband.
She shook her head, still disbelieving, her face hidden by long straight hair. Her comments swung between anger and grief, praising him for helping others and then angered that anyone was on the water in such difficult conditions.
Then she recalled the events of the past day, when she was awakened by a friend who called, wondering if her husband was involved in the rescue mission. Concerned, she contacted the station.
"I called and said, `This is Mrs. Bosley. Is my old man OK?' "
Information from Seattle Times staff reporter Jennifer Bjorhus and the Associated Press is included in this report.
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/…
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4 Coast Guardsman Survives Spill Into Sea Off Lapush
By Jack Broom, Jennifer Bjorhus
Seattle Times Staff Reporters
Three Coast Guard crewmen died while a fourth survived after their 44-foot steel rescue boat capsized in heavy seas early today near the Olympic Peninsula town of La Push.
The self-righting boat - built to withstand rough seas - capsized as the four were trying to rescue sailboaters who had radioed in a distress call around 12:25 a.m. Though it was the first fatal capsizing for that type of rescue boat in its 35-year history, the Coast Guard said today it has been phasing such boats out of service and replacing them with faster, more stable aluminum boats.
The Coast Guard said the first of the four crewmen to be found was Seaman Clinton Miniken, who washed ashore just south of La Push. He was given CPR and taken to a Forks hospital, where he was on life support before he died.
The other two men, found later in the morning, were identified as David Bosley, 36, of Coronado, Calif, and Matthew Schlimme, 24, of Whitewater, Mo.. The sole survivor, 19-year-old Benjamin Wingo of Bremerton, was found in a cove near Schlimme and Bosley.
"It's the worst tragedy I have experienced in my command," said Coast Guard Admiral J. David Spade, district commander for the Pacific Northwest.
A ground search for the missing crew began around 2 a.m., when more than 100 La Push-area residents worked through darkness, pelting rain and high tides as they combed beaches for signs of the men. The Coast Guard also searched by air, using infrared sensors.
"You just have to see this ocean to understand the power of it," said La Push Police Chief Ken Lewis, who himself was almost knocked into the sea by waves hitting a rock jetty. "It was extremely dangerous out there. High winds, high tide, high surf."
Seaman Apprentice Wingo, the survivor, was the most junior member of the team. He suffered cuts and a broken nose and was reported in satisfactory condition at a Forks hospital.
The Coast Guard said Clallam County rescue crews rappelled down a cliff on James Island about a mile southwest of La Push and hoisted up Wingo, along with Schlimme and Bosley, both of whom were floating face down in a cove and were later declared dead.
The four crewmen were all from the Coast Guard Station Quillayute River, a small station, with a staff of 25, that the Coast Guard maintains near La Push, where many fishing boats have gotten into trouble in rough seas.
The station averages 86 rescues a year, said Robert Thomson, assistant chief of search and rescue for the station.
The rescue boat that capsized was one of two sent out at 12:30 a.m. along with a helicopter, after a Bremerton couple on the sailboat Gale Runner radioed that they were taking on water. The helicopter crew plucked the couple to safety before their sailboat crashed on the rocks.
The couple, identified as Kenneth Schlag and his wife, were treated for minor injuries at the Forks hospital.
The two Coast Guard rescue boats were standard steel-hulled, twin-engine boats that hold up to 25 people. They are designed to withstand a capsizing, with crewmen strapped into position.
Even so, the vessels are being phased out of service because of their age and maintenance costs and are being replaced by 47-foot aluminum boats that are faster, more stable and offer better protection to the crews.
It was not immediately known exactly how the accident happened. The Coast Guard said it is investigating the condition of the boat, the training of the crew members and other aspects of the mission.
"To our knowledge, this is the first time we've had fatalities in a capsizing. This is a very sad day here," said instructor Kevin Clark at the Coast Guard's National Motor Lifeboat School at Ilwaco in southwestern Washington.
Word of the accident spread quickly through this community of 400 year-round residents on the Quileute Tribal reservation. "I think about every able-bodied man in the village turned out and was helping" in the search, Lewis said.
La Push Police Officer Brian King was among those who found Miniken; King administered CPR until an ambulance arrived.
"We were searching with flashlights and found him among the logs, on the edge of the surf, unconscious and no pulse," King said. Though there were no signs of life, King said he continued CPR "because I know that in cold-water drownings they've been able to bring people back after an amazing amount of time. . . . I was hoping for the best."
This morning's tragedy is the worst boating accident the Pacific Northwest district of the Coast Guard has experienced since the late 1970s, Thomson said, when several crewmen died after a 41-foot utility boat capsized during a training mission off Cape Disappointment.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this story.
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/…
a list of more articles at:
http://www.44mlb.com/seattle-times.htm
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The Rescue of the Gale Runner
Death, Heroism, and the U.S. Coast Guard
By Dennis L. Noble
Book Description
This on-the-spot narrative of the February 1997 loss of three U.S. Coast Guardsmen from the Quillayute River Station during a maritime rescue is both a commemoration and a report of the failure of the Coast Guard's senior leadership to appreciate and support the work of enlisted men and women at often remote and dangerous small-boat stations.
The first in-depth look at a small-boat maritime rescue by the U.S. Coast Guard, this book is also the first to describe the role of those at small-boat rescue stations and of the policy setters at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C. Its author was in the right place at the right time on a night when everything went wrong. From the first alarm to the dramatic helicopter rescue of the crew of a foundering sailboat, from the onshore rescue of the sole survivor of the first dispatched Coast Guard crew to the tragic losses, this man-against-the-sea tale is told largely in the words of the participants and others who were with author Dennis Noble at the station near La Push, Washington, on the night the tragedy unfolded.
Noble also provides an analysis of the state of the Coast Guard, how its current problems have developed, and what effect they have on the service's operations. As the story unfolds, the views of senior enlisted personnel at the station paint a picture of an overworked small-boat rescue force and their feelings toward what they perceive as a distant, and in many cases unaware, officer corps. Noble contrasts these perspectives with those voiced by the investigating commissioned officers and higher-ups at Coast Guard headquarters.
The Author
Historian Dennis L. Noble served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 21 years. He is the author of That Others Might Live: The U.S. Life-Saving Service, 1878-1915, and Lifeboat Sailors: Disasters, Rescues, and the Perilous Future of the Coast Guard's Small Boat Stations and coauthor of Alaska and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, 1867-1915.
http://www.44mlb.com/book-gale-runner.htm
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Past Tragedy Leads to Safer Future
By Jeffrey Pollinger, U.S. Coast Guard
On the night of February 12, 1997, the crew aboard a 31-foot sailboat, the Gale Runner, became trapped during a violent storm in the waters off the rugged and often dangerous Pacific Northwest coast near La Push, Wash. The master attempted to escape the fury of the storm by sailing to a nearby marina, but that attempt was thwarted when 25-foot waves and 30-knot winds demasted the boat and blew out hatches and portholes.
After the vessel became flooded and the engine failed, it began to drift dangerously toward nearby rock formations. The crew called for help.
First to answer the call was a search and rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Quillayute River, Wash. Within minutes, the four-man crew did what Coast Guard small boat crews are known for doing - heading into treacherous waters while other mariners retreat.
As their 44-foot, steel-hulled motor lifeboat (MLB) crossed the Quillayute River bar and plunged into the storm, a towering wave rolled the boat. The boat righted itself and the crew pressed on. The tumultuous sea struck back and rolled the boat two more times, ripping the superstructure off and leaving three of the four-man crew in the churning waters.
Miraculously, the fourth crewman remained tethered to the boat and made it to land after ocean currents pushed the crippled boat onto nearby James Island.
Lost in the accident were Petty Officer Second Class David Bosely, Petty Officer Third Class Matthew Schlimme and Seaman Clinton Miniken.
The two people aboard the battered sailboat were later rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter crew moments before the boat struck the rocks.
February 12, 2007 marked the tenth anniversary of the tragic accident. Although ten years have passed, few people in the Coast Guard's small boat community have forgotten about the men who made the ultimate sacrifice while trying to save the lives of two total strangers.
This anniversary, like in years past, a wreath and flowers were placed at the station beside a brass and granite memorial of a 44-foot MLB in the surf. Station personnel, local citizens, members of the nearby Quileute Tribe and family gathered around the memorial to remember the men.
Today, some family members of the lost crewmen still live near the semi-isolated station.
The surviving crewman, Ben Wingo, is still in the Coast Guard and serving as an aviation machinery technician at Air Station North Bend, Ore. Crews at the Quillayute Station still respond to distress calls, sometimes in heavy surf, wind, darkness and driving rain, just like the crew of MLB 44363 did that tragic night.
The deaths of Bosely, Miniken and Schlimme were not in vain. The accident prompted the Coast Guard to take a closer look at small boat operations and make changes in an effort to prevent further loss of life and improve readiness.
In the past, surfmen, as with all other boatswain's mates, were required to complete a tour of duty on a Coast Guard cutter before being eligible for advancement to chief petty officer.
As a result, surfmen transferred to cutters could not practice their trade and eventually lost their certifications. Their replacements at the stations required years of training to qualify creating a shortage of surfmen, as was the case at Station Quillayute River in 1997.
Surfmen are no longer required to serve aboard a cutter in order to be eligible for advancement to chief. As a result of this policy change, the highly-trained boat operators normally stay at units that require their skills. In addition, a higher concentration of surfmen at small boat stations means that there are more opportunities for would-be surfmen to train under their guidance.
Admiral James Loy, former commandant of the Coast Guard, spoke about the issue during a State of the Coast Guard Address. "The heart of the problem is that it takes a lot of on-the-job training for a coxswain to become a qualified surfman. That training can happen only when an operational unit has a properly rested trainer available to work with a properly rested trainee and the proper surf conditions prevail," he said.
Risk assessment has become an important part of the decision making process for Coast Guardsmen who work in dangerous environments. Since 1998, Team Coordination Training for operational personnel is a requirement. The training teaches members how to analyze potentially hazardous situations while working together as a team. A major part of the curriculum focuses on knowing one's limitations before taking action.
"Anytime we go into the surf, we have a briefing and agree on our limitations" said Chief Warrant Officer Rick Spencer, Commanding Officer of the National Motor Lifeboat School. "Our number one priority is safety."
The Coast Guard has also phased out the 1960's era 44-foot motor lifeboat with faster and more maneuverable 47-foot motor lifeboats. These aluminum boats have a top speed of 25 knots - more than twice the speed of the old 44-footers. That extra speed gives the operator more of a chance to evade large waves rather than confront them head-on.
Other benefits include an enclosed bridge and state of the art electronics, that the 44- footer lacked.
"The forty seven is more technologically advanced and more forgiving than the forty-four footer was," said Spencer.
Since the 47-footers have been in service, there have been a number of safety upgrades. Shock-absorbing seats with shoulder harnesses have been installed and modifications made to the engines and electrical systems have improved the vessel's reliability. In an effort to improve communication between the coxswain and crew aboard motor lifeboats, the National Motor Lifeboat School plans to begin testing a wireless communication system similar to the hard-wired communication systems used on helicopters. In a marine environment where the wind is howling, the waves are crashing and crewmen are pelted by driving rain, the system could prove to be an invaluable tool.
New safety equipment has also been issued to small boat personnel. Personal electronic positioning indicating radio beacons, which transmit a person's position in an emergency, are now required to be worn while underway. Safety helmets, harnesses and other gear worn by crews have also improved.
The Surf Operations and Surfman Training Advisory Group, comprised of senior surfmen and personnel at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., was chartered in 2000. The group was formed to ensure that the needs of units that operate in surf and heavy weather conditions are met and that program leadership and management are continually linked to field realities, according to Lt. Matthew Buckingham, who is assigned to the Coast Guard's Office of Boat Forces.
The Prospective Surfman Program was established in 2003 according to Buckingham. The program is intended to attract, identify, and select prospects; and to properly guide, train, and develop more surfmen trainees.
A new training program utilizing a MLB boat simulator is being developed at the National Motor Lifeboat School in Ilwaco, Wash. The simulator was purchased in 2006 and upgraded in January. Although the simulator is a safe alternative to training in the surf, Coast Guard crews will always have to train and perform rescues in dangerous seas.
The Coast Guard has taken many steps to make rescue operations in the small boat community as safe as possible - but it will never be possible to completely eliminate the risks associated with performing rescues and training in rough seas.
Retired Chief Warrant Officer and former surfman Scott Clendenin sums up what accidents like the one at Station Quillayute River demonstrate: "What we do every day is very, very dangerous".*
* Quote taken from The Rescue of the Gale Runner, by Dr. Dennis Noble
My thanks go to Jeffrey Pollinger, for allowing me to use his article here.
http://www.44mlb.com/past-tragedy-leads-to-safer-future.htm
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@The Heretic

Thank you for jogging my memory!!!

I lost my colleague Roger, USCG, in a helo crash at sea during a rescue mission just outside of El Rosario, Mexico. The boat they were trying to assist was an American motor vessel. I don't remember the size. It was during one of those typhoon-like winter storms. The helo was establishing a hover and my workmate just beginning to open the cabin door to operate the hoist when one of the rotor blades hit into the side of a freak giant wave, snapping off the blade. This unbalanced the rotor head, and the rest of the blades sliced off the tail end of the helo and it dropped into the ocean. According to the survivors, the pilot and the radio/nav (my flight position/duty), the helo then turtled as the ocean quickly filled the cabin and cockpit. The pilot was able to exit by jettisoning the pilot window, my workmate undid his harness, popped up into a bubble of air under his seat in the upside down helo, then in the dark under water managed to get the cabin door slid open enough to get out and to the surface. The helo, despite flotation in the sponsons, later sank in 150' of water. The co-pilot's body was lost during recovery, the other was never found.

My good friend, Scott Finfrock, USCG, was stationed in Kodiak after San Diego. He went out on a mission to rescue a fishing vessel, and the helo went down. It floated long enough for all the crew to get into personal liferafts, arms and legs hanging out. He was foound frozen to death in his raft that drifted onto a beach somewhere. RIP Scott!!!

Pet peeve: Many civvies look down on the Coast Guard as not being a military service... yet we served in all wars, and thru the years have lost a number of members on active duty in service to their fellow man!!! #RESPECT


Date of incident: 29 January 1979

Crash related deaths:
LTJG David C. Sproat (CG Aviator #1886)
AD3 Roger W. Stephenson

Air Station the aircraft and/or crew were assigned to:
Air Station San Diego, CA

Aircraft type and Coast Guard tail number:
Sikorsky HH-3F Pelican, 1483 *

Location of the incident: Mexico

Description of the incident:
During a SAR mission for a motor vessel reported aground the helicopter impacted the water at the bottom of a precision approach to a controlled hover (PATCH). The aircraft rolled and inverted, but remained afloat. Only two crewmembers escaped.
 
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The Heretic

The Heretic

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Date of incident: 14 November 1981
Crash related deaths:
CAPT Frank W. Olson (CG Aviator #911)
Air Station the aircraft and/or crew were assigned to:
Air Station North Bend, OR
Aircraft type and Coast Guard tail number:
Sikorsky HH-52A Seaguard, 1353
Location of the incident: Coos Bay, OR
Description of the incident:
CAPT Olson and crew were on a night search and rescue case searching for a fishing vessel in distress. The weather was deteriorating rapidly and they were attempting to return to base when they experienced an engine malfunction. They executed an autorotation to the water but the aircraft capsized. CAPT Olson died while attempting to escape.
 

bbbass

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@The Heretic

Date of incident: 7 August 1981

Crash related deaths:
LT Ernest P. Rivas (CG Aviator #1739)
LT Joseph G. Spoja (CG Aviator #1919)
AD1 Scott E. Finfrock
AT3 John H. Snyder


Air Station the aircraft and/or crew were assigned to:
Air Station Kodiak, AK

Aircraft type and Coast Guard tail number:
Sikorsky HH-3F Pelican, 1471 *

Location of the incident: In the Gulf of Alaska, off of Hinchinbrook Island, Alaska

Description of the incident:
While performing a night hoist to a distressed fishing vessel in heavy weather. The helicopter's tail rotor contacted the water causing the aircraft to become uncontrollable and crashed into the water. The crew drowned after egressing the inverted aircraft.
The helicopter was recovered by the Polar Star and taken back to Kodiak.

Click here to read more about the crash

Click Here to read about 'Monster Waves' and their threat to helicopter rescues

Note: The crash depicted in the beginning of the 2006 movie, The Guardian, is loosely based on this accident.


I've seen The Guardian and own it on DVD... I didn't know the crash depicted was Scott's crash.

Tho they say above that the crew drowned, Scott's wife told me that Scott deployed at least one personal liferaft and was found days later rafted up on a beach, but dead from hypothermia. Maybe she misunderstood and it was his water wings fron his safety vest. Could have been some of the others also got hypothermia in the frigid water and subsequently drowned, which would be typical even with personal flotation wings deployed in those typically frigid heavy seas.
 

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Date of incident: 14 November 1981
Crash related deaths:
CAPT Frank W. Olson (CG Aviator #911)
Air Station the aircraft and/or crew were assigned to:
Air Station North Bend, OR
Aircraft type and Coast Guard tail number:
Sikorsky HH-52A Seaguard, 1353
Location of the incident: Coos Bay, OR
Description of the incident:
CAPT Olson and crew were on a night search and rescue case searching for a fishing vessel in distress. The weather was deteriorating rapidly and they were attempting to return to base when they experienced an engine malfunction. They executed an autorotation to the water but the aircraft capsized. CAPT Olson died while attempting to escape.
We didn't often lose a CAPTAIN (for those that don't know, Captain is the highest rank next to Admiral in the USCG). Captains being typically in charge of a larger Air STation, they mostly flew for hours in training missions or local oil patrol, etc, to qualify for Flight Pay. Very unusual for a Captain to stand rescue duty and actually go on a rescue mission!!!

(Edit: But training flights and patrols got diverted for rescues quite often... they are already in the air, and if in the area or not too far away, they're not going to put up another helo and crew.)
 
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The Heretic

The Heretic

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Tho they say above that the crew drowned, Scott's wife told me that Scott deployed at least one personal liferaft and was found days later rafted up on a beach, but dead from hypothermia. Maybe she misunderstood and it was his water wings fron his safety vest. Could have been some of the others also got hypothermia in the frigid water and subsequently drowned, which would be typical even with personal flotation wings deployed in those typically frigid heavy seas.
I can say from experience that it doesn't take long to succumb to hypothermia - especially if you are wet. Been in the water several times myself in the USCG (once at MLB school we had to break ice to get into the water), and also been in the snow while skiing and gotten very cold. Been on a motorcycle drenched to the bone in storms.
 

bbbass

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I can say from experience that it doesn't take long to succumb to hypothermia - especially if you are wet. Been in the water several times myself in the USCG (once at MLB school we had to break ice to get into the water), and also been in the snow while skiing and gotten very cold. Been on a motorcycle drenched to the bone in storms.
I avoided Kodiak by leaving the USCG in 1980. I would have been with Scott in Kodiak that year as that was my next duty location. Could have even deployed on the same flight since he was Aircraft Mechanical Engineer position and I was Radio/Nav and we often flew together in San Diego. Dodged a bullet? IDK.

My only experience with really cold water is from scuba. Part of getting a NAUI Master Diver cert is cold water... we went into the Columbia River outside of Kennewick in 34F water, at the Keystone Jetty near Whidbey Island, and into a flooded abandoned missile silo in E WA (woo, that was cold). I had a thick wetsuit on, which would have felt similar to the Survival Suit that USCG helo crew wears.
 
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Staff Sgt. Jacob L Frazier
Illinois Air National Guard
24
3/29/2003
St Charles, Illinois
by suspected former Taliban during an ambush on his reconnaissance convoy at Geresk, in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. He was part of a special operations team that was inspecting a school and hospital being built with American funding. He was assigned to the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron (182d Airlift Wing) in Peoria, Illinois. C551C2FA-C561-41FB-A483-8959BACF3017.jpeg
I wasn’t friends with him, and our deployments never crossed paths, but would see him around base at various training events. Nice guy, and lost far too young.
 

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