A boat arriving late is not necessarily a cause for concern. However, a 30-foot aluminum charter that went missing, last seen earlier in Sitka, was a sign that all was not right.
The US Coast Guard scoured the area in their search. They found one member of the group, Maury Agcaoili, unresponsive in the water near the boat. Later, he was pronounced dead. Still missing is his partner, Danielle Agcaoili. The others still to be found include Danielle’s sister Brandi Tyua, her partner Robert Solis, and Morgan Robidou, the boat captain.
All of the remaining passengers are considered missing persons.
What exactly happened?
Ian Gray, a Coast Guard Petty Officer, said that the region was experiencing six-to-11-foot seas on Sunday. The authorities hope to get more answers once the boat is recovered. Rough waters and significant winds likely presented challenges that played a role in the tragedy. However, the potentially poor condition of the vessel and a lack of ongoing maintenance to keep all on board safe cannot be discounted.
Recovery of the boat will help tell a troubling story and hopefully get some answers for loved ones dealing with a tragic loss. Even the most seasoned operator cannot overcome severe issues with the vessel. Getting those answers will take a lot of work, particularly in an area rife with rough waters and significant winds. It’s the captain’s responsibility to ensure safe operation conditions for the watercraft.
A day on a charter boat should be about the thrills, relaxation, and overall experience of traveling on the water. However, when inclement weather combines with possible defects that undermine seaworthiness, the dangers grow proportionately, often ending in serious injuries and tragic deaths.