The crew of the Polar Sea was lowering the boat into the water as part of a training exercise at 5:21 p.m. when it fell. Two people were knocked into the water while four others managed to climb back onto the cutter using the vessel’s Jacob’s Ladder. The two members who were knocked into the water were quickly recovered by a smallboat crew from the Seattle based Coast Guard Cutter Midgett which was also operating in the area.
Coast Guard medical personnel aboard the Polar Sea determined the crewmembers involved sustained no significant injury.
“The maritime environment we work in is inherently dangerous and even training evolutions involve a level of risk,” said Vice Adm. David Pekoske, Commander Coast Guard Pacific Area. “We will investigate this accident thoroughly in order to improve the safety of our crews operating at sea,” he said.
The 399-foot icebreaker Polar Sea was commissioned in 1978. In addition to performing the traditional missions of the Coast Guard, the cutter serves as a platform for scientific missions to the North and South Poles. The Polar Sea is commanded by Capt. Carl J. Uchytil.