The search for crewmen missing in what is believed to be Alaska's worst fishing disaster was hampered by bad weather and poor visibility in the Bering Sea on Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said
Two crew members, including the captain, were found dead and 13 were missing from the Arctic Rose, a vessel that sank Monday in an area about 200 miles northwest of Alaska's St. Paul Island, 850 southwest of Anchorage.
The Coast Guard has been using an ice-breaking vessel and aircraft to search the area, but has sighted nothing since finding some empty survival suits, an empty life raft and an oil sheen on Monday.
"We haven't found any sign of any other life, or bodies, for that matter," said a Coast Guard official.
Winds in the area were reported at 40 knots and seas were at 20 to 25 ft., the Coast Guard said.
Alaskan Rose, sistership of Arctic Rose, had been helping in the search but had to leave the area for safety because of ice building up on it, the official said.
The 92-ft. (28-m) Arctic Rose, a freezer-longliner that harvests fish on hooks attached to long lines, is owned by Arctic Sole Seafoods of Seattle. It was harvesting rock sole when it sent out an emergency signal early Monday morning.
The bodies of two crew members reportedly were spotted Monday by the Alaskan Rose, but only one was recovered. The Coast Guard identified the body as the ship's captain, David Rundall, of Hawaii.
If all 15 crewmen are dead, this would be the worst Alaska fishing
disaster on record.
Nine people were killed in 1990 when the Aleutian Enterprise, a factory trawler, sank in U.S. waters of the Bering Sea. Eleven crew members died and 25 were rescued by the Coast Guard when a Japanese vessel sank in the Bering Sea outside
of the U.S. maritime boundary in December of 1999.
Aside from the captain, the Arctic Rose crewmen were from Washington State, Montana and Minnesota, the Coast Guard said. They were identified as Shawn Bouchard, 25; James Mills, 25; Angel Mendez, 35; Kery Egan, 35; Aaron Broderick, 22; Jimmy Conrad, 22; Robert Foreman, 30; Edward Haynes, 35; G.W. Kandris, 25; Kenneth Kivlin, 50; Jeff Meincke, 19; Michael Nevreiter, 37; Mike Olney, 47; and David Whitton, 30.