ALASKA – Authorities have recovered the bodies of two victims who were involved in a boating accident in Goodnews Bay on Friday. A third passenger, who was the sister-in-law to both of the deceased, has yet to be recovered but investigators continue to search.
According to Alaska State Troopers, Rick Ross, 57, Sam Pavala, 49 and Angela Chingliak were returning to Goodnews from the Coastal Villages Seafood plant in Platinum with donated food when tragedy struck.
The three boaters were on their way home, traveling in a vessel approximately 20 feet long with an inboard V-8 when authorities believe a strong west wind and tide overtook them. One of the passengers made a cell phone call to a family member, explaining that the boat was going down, but no further information regarding the cause of the incident was revealed.
The bodies of Ross and Pavala were recovered but as of Monday afternoon, Chingliak’s body had not been found. Emergency crews tried to resuscitate the men but were unsuccessful. Ross and Pavala were married to two of Chingliak’s sisters.
An investigation into what exactly caused the vessel to sink is currently underway. Authorities do not believe the boat was overloaded, so weather conditions were most likely to blame for the maritime accident.
Another possible cause for the sinking could have been due to the boat’s structure itself. According to Platinum health aide Mark Moyle, who was involved in the search, the vessel was designed for river travel and may not have been suitable for the rough seas the boaters encountered.
There are many reasons why boats and other personal watercraft vessels often capsize. Sometimes weather conditions are to blame, as could have been the case with this incident, while other times they occur due to mechanical failure or another unforeseen cause.
Then there are times in which accidents at sea are the direct result of someone’s negligence. Operating While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (OWI/OUI) and other reckless habits some boaters engage in are extremely perilous and can lead to severe injuries and even fatalities, not just for passengers onboard, but for unsuspecting victims aboard other vessels.
In order to determine what exactly caused this particular accident, a lot of time and resources will need to be allocated to raise the boat and crews will have to wait until tides are low.
“We can’t conjecture on anything regarding why it sank until we raise the boat,” said Moyle, adding that additional equipment and time would need to be spent to uncover the vessel.
For now, Moyle explained that all efforts are focused on recovering Chingliak’s body.
Accidents like this one which deal with fatalities involving personal water vessels should be reviewed by boat accident lawyers to ensure that victims and loved ones obtain justice for any and all wrongdoing. Our maritime lawyers have over 165 years of combined experience in helping those involved in accidents that occur on navigable waters and will ensure that the best resolution for your case is attained.
For more information regarding our boating accident attorney services and to determine if you qualify for any damages, medical benefits or property damage reimbursement, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation today.