Investigators are probing the death of a Coast Guard member discovered unresponsive in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
Seaman Ethan Kelch, 19, was declared dead Sunday morning.
He was assigned to the cutter Douglas Munro, which was awaiting repairs in Dutch Harbor when he went missing during normal liberty hours on Saturday evening, officials told Navy Times.
“The Coast Guard is deeply saddened by the tragic news that we lost one of our own,” said Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr., Coast Guard 17th District commander, in a statement emailed to Navy Times. “As we mourn his death, we send our deepest condolences to Seaman Kelch’s family and loved ones.”
Authorities are awaiting an autopsy report from the State Medical Examiner Office. The case is being investigated by Coast Guard Investigative Service agents and local law enforcement officials, according to Lt. Brian Dykens, a Coast Guard spokesman in Juneau.
Dykens said that “at this stage it’s too early to say” if foul play is suspected in Kelch’s death.
After Kelch went missing, the Douglas Munro’s crew began a ground search. They also launched an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter to canvass two of the Fox Islands from the sky.
Search parties found Kelch unresponsive on the western side of Amaknak Island and local emergency medical technicians began CPR before rushing him to the Iliuliuk Family & Health Services clinic in Unalaska, Coast Guard officials said.
Originally from Virginia, Kelch was pronounced dead at the clinic early Sunday morning and officials notified his family, according to the Coast Guard.
Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.