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Coast Guard releases names of crewmembers involved in vessel capsizing

by US Coast Guard on 19 Jul 2011
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Having completed notifications of the next of kin, as well as debriefing immediate family members regarding the details of the search, the Coast Guard is officially releasing the names of those boaters who died and those who were rescued this morning in Lake Michigan.

Deceased are: Suzanne Bickel, age 41; and Mark Morley, 51, both of Saginaw, Mich.

Rescued were: Christopher Cummings, age 16; John Dent, 50; Stan Dent, 51; Peter Morley, 47; Stewart Morley, 15; and Lee Purcell, 46.

The U.S. Coast Guard received initial notification from a private company that monitors personal locator beacons, reporting that two PLBs aboard the sailing vessel Wingnuts had been activated.

Radio watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Charlevoix, Mich., established communications with the sailing vessel Sociable, who were assisting with the coordination of a search by other responding sailing vessels in the vicinity. The crew of the Sociable pulled six of the eight crewmembers from the Wingnuts out of the water.

A rescue crew aboard a 41-foot Utility Boat from Coast Guard Station Charlevoix, Mich., arrived on scene and located the capsized sailing vessel. Crewmembers knocked on the hull of the vessel in an attempt to discern whether or not people were trapped inside. Receiving no response from inside the vessel, the rescue crew began their initial search pattern.

A crew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., also began searching.

The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw arrived on scene to assume the role of on-scene commander and coordinate ongoing search efforts. Search and rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie contacted Charlevoix County to request dive team support. The Air Station Traverse City helicopter crew transported the dive team to cutter Mackinaw, which was used as the dive platform.

At 8:44 a.m., EST, the dive team located the two boaters unresponsive in the vicinity of the capsized boat. They were transported to shore and turned over to a medical examiner. They were pronounced dead at 12:30 p.m.
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