Coast Guard, Navy boats collide in Alaska; 9 injured

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A U.S. Coast Guard vessel collided with a U.S. Navy boat, injuring nine people, including one critically, off Alaska’s Kodiak Island.

The accident occurred Wednesday evening in Women’s Bay near Kodiak’s Coast Guard base, said Lt. Comm. Scott McCann, a Coast Guard Alaska District spokesman in Juneau.

A Coast Guard 38-foot (11.6-meter) special purpose training boat had just completed a helicopter hoist training session with aircraft from the agency’s air base, McCann said. Training sessions are aimed at maintaining pilot proficiency for search and rescue missions.

“They had just completed training with the air station and were headed back home,” McCann said.

The boat collided with a Navy vessel of about the same size, McCann said. The vessels were not training together.

The Kodiak Coast Guard Base is the nation’s largest and was home to 1,100 active duty members as of 2018. The base conducts missions connected to search and rescue, buoy tending and oversight of the North Pacific fishing fleet.

The Navy vessel in the collision was a “combatant craft medium” used by Naval Special Warfare personnel, said Navy spokesman Lt. Matt Stroup. The Navy uses facilities on Kodiak for cold weather training of special warfare personnel, which includes Navy SEALS and supporting forces.

The Navy vessel is a reconfigurable multi-mission boat primarily used to deliver and support special operation forces, Stroup said. The approximately 60-foot (18.3-meter) boat can carry 19 special operations personnel.

Stroup could not comment on which Navy personnel were training Wednesday.

Details of the collision have not been released and will be the subject of an investigation. Both boats were damaged but able to return to port.

All nine of the injured were taken to a Kodiak hospital. The six injured Coast Guardsmen were treated and released. Two of the Navy personnel were discharged but one with serious injuries was flown to Anchorage for additional treatment.

The Coast Guard boat carries a minimum crew of three and usually four, McCann said. Additional personnel would have been on board for the training session.

McCann did not have an indication of how badly the boats were damaged.

“The extent will be determined by the investigation,” he said.

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