Nine people were hurt, with one listed in critical condition, after a 38-foot Coast Guard vessel collided with a U.S. Navy vessel of approximately the same size off the coast of Alaska on Wednesday. The Coast Guard vessel had just completed a helicopter hoist training exercise in conjunction with a nearby Coast Guard Air Base. It collided with the Navy ship shortly after turning back for home.
The Navy ship involved in the crash has been characterized as a Naval Special Warfare combatant craft by Capt. Tamara Lawrence of the U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command. Navy SEALs are known to train in the region at various times of the year. But thus far, it remains unclear whether or not any SEAL units were present during the crash. It also appears that six of the injured made up the entirety of the Coast Guard crew.
“An investigation is underway into the cause of the collision during routine training operations,” Lawrence said.
James Mullican, Kodiak Fire Department Chief, told the Anchorage Daily News that local EMTs and fire fighters assisted in transporting eight patients to the hospital, with the critically injured person (as yet unidentified) transferred off-island for more extensive care. Mullican could not speak to the extent of the damage on the Navy vessel, but noted that the Coast Guard’s “special purpose training boat,” showed visible signs of the crash. All six members of the Coast Guard were later released from the hospital. This suggests that the person still in critical condition, who was medevaced to Anchorage, is likely a U.S. Navy Sailor.