Keith Criner, 01-06-09

Man overboard in crab fishery

U.S. Coast Guard, 17th District

Jan. 6, 2009

Coast Guard searches for opilio crab fisherman who fell into the Bering Sea

JUNEAU, Alaska The Coast Guard is responding to a report of a 40-year-old male who tangled his feet in a crab pot line and fell from the 90-foot fishing vessel Seabrooke approximately 22 miles northwest of Cold Bay, Alaska, at 9:50 a.m.

Two Coast Guard rescue helicopters forward deployed in Cold Bay were launched. The MH-60 Jayhawk and H-65 Dolphin arrived on scene to begin the search at 11 a.m. A Coast Guard C-130 was diverted from a patrol to assist with the search but is maintaining a high altittude orbit for communications coverage in the search area due to a low cloud ceiling and snow squalls. All search aircraft are from Air Station Kodiak.

Coast Guard Communication Station Kodiak received the report via high frequency radio at 9:55 a.m.

The crew member that fell overboard was reportedly wearing orange rain gear.

Current weather conditions are 15 mph winds, with three to five foot seas, a water temperature of 34 and air temperature of 19.

Coast Guard suspends search for overboard fisherman

By JAMES HALPIN, jhalpin@adn.com

Published: January 7th, 2009 02:07 PM

The U.S. Coast Guard today suspended its search for a crab fisherman who fell overboard from his vessel Tuesday about 22 miles northwest of Cold Bay.

Keith Criner, 43, of Stockton, Calif., was declared lost at sea after a daylong search that covered 132 square miles, the Coast Guard said. Criner got tangled in a crab pot line and was pulled off the 98-foot fishing vessel Seabrooke at about 9:50 a.m. Tuesday.

"The aircraft conducted 11 searches encompassing 132 square miles but unfortunately did not locate the fisherman," Petty Officer 1st Class Lee Goldsmith said in a prepared statement. "Suspending a search is one of the most difficult calls that we have to make. Our sincere condolences are sent to his family and friends."

Two Coast Guard helicopters from Cold Bay and a C-130 from Kodiak got on scene by about 11 a.m. and searched 107 miles throughout the day but held off overnight. An MH-60 Jayhawk returned to the search area at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday and covered about 25 square miles of ocean before the search was called off at 11:49 a.m.

The Seabrooke was fishing for Tanner crab in the Bering Sea when the accident took place, the Coast Guard said.

Find James Halpin online at adn.com/contact/jhalpin or call him at 257-4589.