Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 2003

January 30, 2003*     A crewmember was found dead in his bunk of an apparent heart attack aboard the 132 foot steel trawler Golden Dawn 40 miles north of Akutan.

March 2, 2003*     A crewmember suffering from an altered mental state jumped overboard and was lost from the trawler Excaliber II six miles northwest of Dutch Harbor.

April 3, 2003*     A 65 year old crewmember died of a heart attack aboard the 49 foot steel halibut fishing vessel Martina near Point Retreat in Lynn Canal.

July 8, 2003     Theodore Hahler was lost when the 34 foot wooden salmon trolling vessel Ms Everett sank near Kruzof Island north of Sitka.

July 8, 2003*     A crewmember was found dead on his stateroom floor aboard the 211 foot steel cod trawler Seafisher in the Aleutian Islands near Amchitka.  He had apparently died of an embolism.

July 21, 2003     Patrick Donahue was lost when an unnamed 18 foot fiberglass salmon setnet skiff overturned at the mouth of the Akwe River southeast of Yakutat Bay.

July 24, 2003*     Owner James Guilmet, of the 52 foot fishing vessel Faith, died of natural causes while fishing near Chirikof Island.

August 16, 2003     Paul Pansch (37) fell overboard and was lost from an unnamed small boat near his cabin at Kotzebue.

August 30, 2003     James Titus (33) fell overboard and drowned when he lost control of the 20 foot flat bottom boat he was piloting in the Crow Fawn slough off the Tolovana River.

September 12, 2003     An unnamed skiff from the fishing vessel Teal capsized in Hoonah Sound near the west end of Peril Strait throwing a father and his three sons into the water.   Ken Decker Sr. and son Tim Decker survived but Ken Decker Jr. and Jim Decker were lost.

September 15, 2003     Don Bunker (65), operator of the 39 foot fiberglass driftnet salmon fishing vessel Rio Bravo, was lost when he became entangled in his net near Nuka Bay.

October 5, 2003     Owner Steve Horwath of the Pacific Cloud died while sea cucumber harvesting in Three Saints Bay south of Old Harbor.  The compressor stopped while Horwath was on bottom.

October 20, 2003     Vernon Rosendahl fell overboard and was lost from the 93 foot steel crab fishing vessel Shaman 85 miles north of Cold Bay in the Bering Sea.  Two other crewmembers donned survival suits and went into the water after Rosendahl.  They were able to get him back, but he did not survive.

October 28, 2003     A diver was lost from the 29 foot fiberglass sea cucumber dive boat Clear Light near Coffman Cove on the northeast coast of Prince of Wales Island.  A lack of familiarity with equipment was thought to have caused the disaster.

November 7, 2003    David Keith of Ellensburg WA and Diane Nelson were lost when a small unnamed boat overturned In Kotzebue Sound.  Keith was transporting Nelson to a doctor’s appointment when the disaster took place.

November 9, 2003     The 38 foot wooden shrimp fishing vessel Theresa Sea capsized and sank 20 miles southwest of Craig.  Mike Harding (38) was the only person aboard and was lost.  Instability caused by a large load of shrimp pots was the likely cause of the tragedy.

December 30, 2003     Three deer hunters from Kake were lost from an unnamed 16 foot skiff that capsized near the north end of Kupreanof Island.  Lost were Rick Mills (43), his son David Mills (14) and Gery Davies (28).

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