ABOARD THE OCEAN EXPLORER (AP) Coast Guard investigators searching for the missing Arctic Rose got a brief view of the vessel Wednesday before the remotely operated vehicle transmitting pictures was lost at the bottom of the Bering Sea, alongside the Arctic Rose.
The cable controlling the camera-equipped vehicle got tangled in lines drifting from the sunken ship. The cable snapped and the $100,000 ROV was lost in 450 feet of water, said Richard Hansen, owner of Maritime Consultants, the Puyallup, Wash.-based shipwreck hunting company that owned the remotely operated vehicle.
Its just incredibly disappointing, Hansen said. We have very little other than we know its the Arctic Rose and we saw a few things. We were only able to do a small percentage of what our mission was. Very disappointing.
The Arctic Rose sank suddenly in the Bering Sea April 2, killing all 15 men on board. It was the worst fishing disaster in Alaska waters in nearly two decades. Two young Montanans, high school friends Shawn Bouchard, 25, of Harlowton, and James Mills, 24, of Judith Gap, were among the 14 whose bodies were never recovered.
The Coast Guard team investigating the sinking had hoped to get a look at the 92-foot commercial fishing and processing vessel in order to learn why it sank.
The remote vehicle worked successfully for about an hour, giving three members of the Coast Guard panel eerie images of the Arctic Rose, which was sitting upright on the ocean floor. The name of the vessel, painted in white, was visible on the blue hull. The pilothouse was also visible, its windows dark.
We saw the bow and we saw some of the pilothouse. But we really wanted to see the whole exterior of the vessel, said Capt. Ron Morris, chairman of the Coast Guard board investigating the disaster.
The goal of the mission was to try to take a look at the hatches, the windows, the watertight doors, overboard discharges, the rudder, the stern and to try to get an overall sense of what the vessel looked like, Morris said.
Copyright © 2001, Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.