Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 1996

January 27, 1996     The 114 foot steel crab fishing vessel Pacesetter capsized and sank 65 miles northwest of Saint George Island with the loss of all seven crewmen.  Those lost were captain Matthew Pope, Stephen Mack, Richard Anderson, Eric Ericson, Byron Koesterman, Elias Pena and Stanley Estesad.

February 17, 1996     Crewmember Rodney Charles Allen (25) was swept overboard and lost from the 113 foot steel crab fishing vessel Blue Fin west of Saint Paul Island.

March 23, 1996     Edward Hicks became entangled in gear and drowned from the 86 foot steel crab fishing vessel Western Viking 35 miles northwest of Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.

April 4, 1996     The 38 foot Desiree C capsized in 20 to 25 foot swells east of Cape Chiniak one mile north of lighted buoy #8.  Lost were Jack Christiansen (41) and Larry (Lolly) Larionoff Jr (24).

July 4, 1996     Crewmember David James Bloomquist (24) of San Diego, CA was lost in a diving accident while attempting to remove a tangled net from the prop of the 38 foot fishing vessel Tiffany Lee near Raspberry Cape.

July 27, 1996     Five crewmembers were lost in a fire aboard the cruise ship Universe Explorer southwest of Point Retreat in Lynn Canal including Aldin D Avila, Dionisio M Rosales, Epafrodito P Ola, Reynaldo Gavino and Williams Notice.  55 other crewmembers and one passenger sustained minor injuries.  There were 1,006 people on board the ship.

July 31, 1996     A crewman jumped overboard and was lost attempting to swim to the beach from the 32 foot fishing vessel Four Sons at Naknek in Bristol Bay.

August 20, 1996     A crewmember fell overboard while relieving himself off of the bow of the 32 foot salmon fishing vessel Hard Tack in Ugashik Bay.

September 2, 1996     Brian Rudolph was lost overboard from the 165 foot longline halibut fishing vessel Yukon Queen.  He became entangled in the longline gear end anchor and was lost.

October 1, 1996     A diver who was experiencing regulator problems decided to dive anyway and was lost from the 55 foot sea cucumber and urchin dive boat Aquila in Uyak Bay on Kodiak Island.

November 6, 1996     Jack Lundgren was lost overboard from the 111 foot crab fishing vessel Platonida near the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea.

November 8, 1996     A crewmember was greasing a steering fitting when it failed and struck him aboard the 94 foot fishing vessel Melanie.  He died of his injuries.

November 25, 1996     Jason Jay Cole (26) of Kodiak died while diving to untangle line from the prop of the 80 foot vessel Stormbird at Old Harbor.

November 26, 1996     Three were lost when the 33 foot sea cucumber and urchin dive boat Tamra Dawn disappeared 20 miles SW of Ketchikan near Dall Head.

December 12, 1996     Two crewmembers were rescued and one lost when the 48 foot shrimp fishing vessel Oceanic sank 23 miles southwest of Craig.

18 Replies to “Alaska Commercial Fishing and other Maritime Losses of 1996”

  1. thanks for adding the pacesetter that was a very bad day on jan 27 1996
    RIP Captain Matthew Pope, Stephen Mack, Richard Anderson, Eric Ericson, Byron Koesterman, Elias Pena, Stanley Estesad

    1. I was working on the Platonida when the Pacesetter sank. A very bad day indeed. We assisted in search and rescue. I still have a picture of the life ring we found and a couple of oil barrels.

    2. I knew them all well as I dated Simone Mack and was friends with Bobby Mack who died later trying to save woman who was drowning in the mountains in Washington I did welding on the pacesetter and ran in to them I Capitans bay 4 months before the sinking it was a true highliner rip

  2. Hello Captain:

    Thank you for all of your dedication on your site. Seeing the names of old friends lost brings comfort that they are not forgotten.

    Edward Hicks died on the Westren Viking on March 23, 1996. Perhaps you could include his name at a time convenient to you sir.

    David Williams
    F/V Harrier

    1. Thank You for remembering Edward. I will update all of my lists. I am constantly searching for the names that fit the numbers, when it comes to Alaska Shipwrecks. Hopefully remembering the people and circumstances of their losses will in some way help prevent similar circumstances from causing more losses.

  3. Thank you for remembering David Bloomquist. I recall all the years following losing him, I had searched his name and found nothing on the Internet. When I came across this sometime ago, it brought an indescribable feeling to me. I want to thank you for all you have done to preserve the memory these souls. People may never be able tell you how very important this work is. I know I was overwhelmed with emotion when I discovered a match on a google search which I had typed for so many years. It touches me. Thank you, Sir.

    1. I also have a posting on Facebook called Alaska Fishermen RIP. If you have a picture of David there is an photo album I am building of pictures of those who left port and never returned. I have many visitors who come to see old lost friends. My work is very incomplete, but I am happy to be able to continue.

    2. I too think about David Bloomquist and was moved to search for his obituary on the Internet today. I was his best friend during his late teens and up to his death and I miss him and think of him wishing i could share my life today with him. This posting helps me grieve today almost twenty years later. Rest in peace my friend. Travis

  4. YUKON Queen was a great boat to fish on and Jim Beaten of Seattle is wicked AWSOME to work for

    1. Conan? Trying to recall you you are? I was the engineer on the yukon viking..we refit the boat in last trip we processed salmon for the All Alaska process ship

  5. I was a commercial fisherman from the mid eighties to mid two thousands. I was injured in 2003. Which ended up being a carrier ender for me. Then I returned to crabbing in 2012 and was again injured badly, This time. Because of a green horn we had no choice but to take with us. Because he was the owner and skippers buddy. Unfortunately to many people where hurt or killed by these kinds of deck hands in the Alaska commercial fisheries. It’s terrible when a good experienced crew, is forced to have a person like this forced upon them. And it happens a lot. I see many name I know. And questions I could answer for others. Maybe I could share some. Many bring back unpleasant memories. My last injury was a TBI which is difficult to sometimes deal with. But other times it really helps to talk about some of these issues. Thanks. Kaz

  6. July 4 we were a half mile away from Tiffany Lee. I was skiff man on the F/V Joleen that year, skippered by Chris Berns. The young crewman volunteered to don dive gear and clear the fouled prop (fouled with salmon seine). I hope his name is remembered. As I recall he was a college student from the lower 48. RIP son. Not forgotten.

    1. I did some further research and the name of the 24 year old fisherman who was lost from the Tiffany Lee was David James Bloomquist of San Diego, CA. His body was recovered by a diver from the Max L. I will update our files and databases. Thanks for posting and remembering.

  7. Kevin is correct; his name was Disco Dave from San Diego. I never knew his last name. Unfortunately, he was not a certified diver, and as the story goes, he did not have the proper diving gear that day. They had him in a survival suit with no buoyancy control and attached a cannonball to him for weight. That dive was doomed from the start, and the skipper of the Tiffany Lee, I believe, was charged with negligence.

    Dave was my assistant the season before Salmon when I was on the Cape Providence for the Herring season in Togiak. I was a Dive Master then and dove on three different occasions in Togiak, and he was my assistant. He was always a great assistant, and I felt it was partially my fault because he saw me dive and cut out the net with ease, so he was confident he could do it. I believe they buried Dave in Kodiak because they did not have the info for his parents.

    I was two bays over that day that Dave drowned on the West side of Kodiak as I was fishing on the Golden Girls, and it still haunts me as we listened to the story unfold over the VHF. Then, to find out it was Dave was heartbreaking. RIP Disco.

  8. Anybody know anymore about Jack Lundgren’s fate aboard the Platondia on 11/6/96? He was a Bellingham man doing a crab run up by the Bering Sea, and went overboard, according to reports. He was a very good friend of mine, and I really don’t know much about it. Always has bothered me not knowing much about it. Thanks.

    1. Thank you for remembering Jack. I was not aware of the name of the lost deckhand from the Platonida and we had misspelled the name of the boat. I will add Jack’s name to our “Lost at Sea in Alaska” database and correct the 1996 entry of his loss. I found one article in the Anchorage Daily News describing the tragic loss. If you would like a digital copy, email me at [email protected]

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