9 Feb 2011

US Coast Guard denied request to medivac victim of fatal vessel accident

7:46 pm on 9 February 2011

The local agent for a fishing vessel on which two crew members were killed in an accident at sea, says their request to the US Coast Guard to medivac one of the victims to Tuvalu was denied.

A spokesperson for KS Shipping Agency said one of the two men killed had a chance of surviving if he had been transported to land for treatment.

However she said when they made contact with the US Coast Guard office in Honolulu to request a helicopter, they were turned down reportedly because they were not close to land.

The nearest land was Kiribati.

The accident took place on board the purse seiner Betty C, which belongs to Adriatic Fisheries registered in Kiribati.

The two men were killed when a power block collapsed and fell on them while they were reeling in a catch of about 100 tons, according to the agent.

A 24 year old Ecuadoran crew member was instantly killed while an other man from Peru, married to a Samoan woman, died a day later.

The vessel is expected to arrive in American Samoa tonight and the local coast guard will investigate the incident.