Alaska Shipwreck Coldcase

On April 3, 1979 a survival suit was manufactured in California. These suits, also called immersion suits or exposure suits were becoming popular with the Alaska fishing fleet for surviving in the icy waters of the north in the event of a shipwreck. Each was often marked with the name of the manufacturer and a serial number specific to that suit. On November 19, 1982 one of these survival suits washed up on a beach in Hawaii with the remains of a young man in his early to mid twenties in it. He was wearing a survival suit manufactured on April 3, 1979. We know because it had a serial number. He appeared to have been in the water for a very long period of time. This young man has yet to be identified. Technology and science have advanced greatly in the 36 years since that survival suit washed up in Hawaii. Studies indicate that it would take a floating object from a shipwreck near Alaska at least two years to arrive in Hawaii traveling in the Alaska Stream Current to the North Pacific Current and then on to Hawaii. It is possible that the young man who washed up in Hawaii came from a shipwreck in Alaska. I have gone over all Alaska shipwrecks after the April 3, 1979 date that the suit was manufactured until the middle of 1981. After mid-1981 it is very unlikely that something or someone would have the time to drift to Hawaii and arrive by the November 19, 1982 date when the body in a survival suit washed up in there. The wrecks that stand out from April of 1979 until mid-1981 are the Hellion of November 23, 1979, Gemini of January 15, 1980, Norel March 17, 1980 and Commander of November 21, 1980. I am looking for your help. If you know anyone or anything about these four vessels, please contact me at warren@alaskashipwreck.com as soon as possible. With all the new advancements in science and technology, we may be able to solve this sad shipwreck cold case from 1982.

The names of those lost with the Hellion in 1979 were captain and owner Ronald Hoffman of Seldovia, and crewmembers Walt Laughhead of Seldovia and Aaron Going (19) of Oregon. Lost with the Gemini in 1980 were captain Roy O’Harrow and crewman Steve Holden. Lost with the Norel in 1980 were owner Joseph Gursky, Roseanna Nasello and John Estrada. Lost with the Commander in 1980 were four family members including Philip Edwards and his son Philip Jr., his brother John Edwards and his nephew Sam Bissett, all from Seattle. The smallest piece of information about these boats or the people that went missing with them may be helpful. I will keep all names and information confidential unless otherwise instructed. Thanks in advance…Captain Warren Good

About captaingood

Captain Warren Good is the owner and administrator of this website and the author of the book ALASKA SHIPWRECKS. He spent much of the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's involved in the fisheries of Alaska. His home base was Kodiak where he made himself available as a cook, deck boss, engineer or skipper. His fishing experiences ranged from Prince William Sound to Norton Sound working on boats out of Kodiak and Dutch Harbor. King crab, tanner crab, opilio crab, shrimp, pollock, cod, sole, halibut and salmon were a few of the fisheries Captain Good was involved in. He achieved his Inspected Master Captain's License in 1988 from the United States Coast Guard. In the late 1970's after losing several close friends to shipwrecks, Captain Good began researching other shipwrecks that had taken place along the vast coastal regions of Alaska. He has retired to Florida, but his Alaska Shipwreck research is ongoing. This site is a forum for that effort.
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2 Responses to Alaska Shipwreck Coldcase

  1. Edward Festor says:

    Thanks Captain Good! You should have been a cold case detective. I might add that the suit, a Bayley, was sold in Tacoma, Washington.

    • captaingood says:

      I also posted this on Alaska Fishermen RIP on Facebook which is also one of my sites. Hopefully it will generate more leads. I have been contacted by at least two of the boats I mentioned and will touch base with them again. The contacts were years ago.

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