Coast Guard rescues 13 people from sinking charter boat

A 38-foot charter fishing boat capsized and sank near Homer, Alaska, on April 25.

There were no injuries among the 13 people aboard Halibut Endeavor. The probable cause of the sinking was mechanical failure, according to Petty Officer Eric J. Chandler with the Coast Guard’s 17th District public affairs office.

The 11 passengers were safely transferred to a Coast Guard cutter before the charter boat capsized; but the captain and mate, who had remained aboard, had to be rescued from the water after the boat rolled over.

Halibut Endeavor began taking on water at approximately 1600. Weather conditions were poor with 20-knot northeast winds, rain and 4-foot seas. The vessel, owned by Halibut King Charters of Homer, was one of eight participating in a one-day Halibut-tagging event.

When the captain discovered that the boat was taking on water, one of the passengers used a cell phone to call the Homer Police Department and request help. The police put out a VHF marine radio call requesting nearby vessels to go to the assistance of Halibut Endeavor. The police also contacted the Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center in Juneau. The Coast Guard dispatched the 110-foot cutter Roanoke Island to the scene along with a Coast Guard auxiliary 27-foot rescue boat. The 27-footer was first on the scene, arriving at about 1620.

Aboard Halibut Endeavor all the crew and passengers had donned life jackets and gathered in the bow as the vessel’s stern slowly sank. When Roanoke Island arrived, the rescue boat began transferring the passengers to the cutter. The captain and the mate were still aboard when Halibut Endeavor suddenly rolled onto its starboard side. The captain and the mate clung to the exposed port side and were quickly rescued by the crew of the Coast Guard boat.

Halibut Endeavor sank moments later, at 1641.

The passengers and crew were safely in Homer by 1830.

By Professional Mariner Staff