It'll be interesting to read the official report on this one:
Coast Guard Cutter Crashes Into, Sinks Fishing Boat | Military.com
The Virgin Islands
Daily News, St. Thomas | Sep 25, 2014 | by Jenny Kane
ST. THOMAS -- A 110-foot U.S. Coast Guard
cutter drove into a 42-foot commercial fishing
boat Tuesday morning, sinking the boat but miraculously leaving no one injured.
, Capt. Winston Ledee, 57, and Kenneth Turbe, 30, were fishing
for lobster in Ledee's vessel, the "Sea Shepherd," when the San Juan-based cutter
"Key Largo" smashed into the fishing vessel at 6:38 a.m., according to U.S. Coast Guard regional spokesman Ricardo Castrodad.
occurred about 9 nautical miles east-northeast of Vieques, Puerto Rico
, and the Coast Guard is investigating the accident
, Castrodad said.
He did not know how long the investigation would take or what the consequences would be if the Coast Guard is determined to be at fault. Just a few of the questions the Coast Guard hopes to answer via the investigation is how fast the cutter
was going; how many crew members were supposed to be on the lookout on the "Key Largo"; and, if they were on the lookout, how the cutter ended up slicing through the fishing boat at a 90-degree angle.
Neither Ledee, the captain
of the boat, nor Turbe, nor any of the members of the Coast Guard crew were injured. Both Ledee and Turbe leapt into the water
before the impact.
After the collision
, the Coast Guard crew retrieved Ledee from the water
, and Turbe from the boat after Turbe climbed back onto the vessel.
The boat sank shortly thereafter, Castrodad said.
It is not certain at this point that the vessel will be salvageable, according to Sea Tow Capt. Alan Wentworth.
Ledee contacted Wentworth on Tuesday, asking that Sea Tow retrieve the sunken vessel, though Wentworth is concerned that the "Sea Shepherd" could have fallen at the edge of the South Drop.
The South Drop is southwest of Sail Rock, between St. Thomas and Culebra
. Prior to the drop, the depth
is about 120 feet, but, past it, the depths range from 600 feet to 2,000 feet.
"It may be unreachable. We are hoping it's on the edge," Wentworth said.
Sea Tow is expected to try to retrieve the Sea Shepherd on Thursday morning, according to Wentworth.
This is the second devastating catastrophe to happen on one of Ledee's vessels in just two years.
Ledee's vessel, the "Great White II," a 35-foot lobster boat, ran aground on the northwest corner of Saba
Island, about two miles southwest of King Airport
on St. Thomas just after 5 a.m. Feb. 15, 2013.
When Sea Tow arrived after that accident
, Wentworth found Ledee aboard another local fishing boat, which had stopped to help Ledee and Tony "Pirate Tony" Neely.
At the time, Neely was still in the water floating on a buoy because he could not move his legs.
It turned out that Neely had broken his back in three places, and his spinal cord was crushed. Today, he is paralyzed from the chest down.
Following the accident with the Great White II, Ledee had severe injuries as well. His liver and spleen were crushed, and he was bleeding internally. It took him several weeks to recover.
Ledee could not be reached for comment about Tuesday's collision, though both he and Turbe were transported back to St. Thomas by the Coast Guard cutter -- which sustained only minor damage -- early Tuesday afternoon, according to Castrodad.
"It is unfortunate that this has happened," Castrodad said.