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Coast Guard panel to probe Gulf of Alaska sinking

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard has formed a Marine Board of Investigation to determine the causes of the sinking of the Scandies Rose, a Seattle-managed crab boat that went down with five of its seven crew members on Dec. 31 in the Gulf of Alaska.

The board will look into the sinking of the boat, which had left the port of Kodiak, Alaska, and was headed out to the Bering Sea to begin winter harvests of cod and crab, The Seattle Times reported.

The board will try to determine the factors involved and come up with recommendations on how to prevent them. The recommendations will be submitted to the Coast Guard commandant.

It’s not clear where and when a hearing will be scheduled, according to Public Affairs Specialist Chief Petty Officer Matthew Schofield of the 17th Coast Guard District in Juneau.

Schofield declined to release the names of the board members, saying that they were being withheld "in the best interest of the investigation."

The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating.

The boat faced high seas, icing and strong winds as their 130-foot (39-meter) boat with a full load of pot gear on deck took on water around 10 p.m. on Dec. 31.

Survivor John Lawler said the boat listed hard to the starboard side and although no emergency alarms sounded, he was convinced the vessel was in grave danger.

The crew assembled in the wheelhouse as a Mayday call was made by captain Gary Cobban Jr.

Only Lawler and Dean Gribble Jr. were able to make it into a life raft, and were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter about four hours later.

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