The wreckage of the 98-foot crabber Destination, which sank in the Bering Sea in February, was found earlier this month by a NOAA research vessel.
The boat was discovered in about 250 feet of water just northwest of St. George Island, Alaska, according to the Coast Guard. NOAA ships have been surveying the area with sonar to find the wreck since the spring.
Later this month a U.S. Coast Guard dive team aboard the cutter Healy will use a remotely operated vehicle to investigate the wreckage.
According to earlier reports, the Destination was on its way from Dutch Harbor to St. Paul Island at the beginning of the opilio crab season when the vessel disappeared.
Interviews with people knowledgeable of the operation said the boat was known to be well-maintained and that the crew was very experienced.
Captain Jeff Hathaway and crew members Kai Hamik, Darrik Seibold, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler and Charles G. Jones were lost with the boat. They were legally declared dead in a presumptive death hearing about a month after the Coast Guard suspended search efforts.
“It’s been the sit and wait game, and it just tears you up. There’s nothing you can do,” said Gail O’Grady, Larry O’Grady’s wife, in an interview with KIRO 7. “They have fished up there in terrible weather, but everybody knows their job. Everybody knows that safety [is]first. Whatever happened, happened so fast that nobody had any time, had any time to send out a mayday or anything.”
Both the Coast Guard’s Marine Board of Investigation and the National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting investigations on the sinking.
Coast Guard leaders say the discovery of the wreckage is an instrumental piece in their investigation and the board will be holding a public meeting in August.