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Coast Guard Demobilizes Bases In St. Paul And Cold Bay

Lauren Dean/U.S. Coast Guard

As the winter fishing season winds down, the U.S. Coast Guard has demobilized its temporary bases in St. Paul and Cold Bay.

Last week, the agency announced that helicopter crews conducted 24 search-and-rescue operations during their three-month deployment from Kodiak, with help from the cutters Alex Haley, John Midgett, and Douglas Munro.

In total, officials estimated the crews spent more than 110 hours saving the lives of 19 people and assisting 29 others.

While pleased with its performance protecting the Bering Sea fishing fleet, the Coast Guard did lose one of its own this 'A' season.

The agency is still investigating the January death of a 19-year-old crewman stationed on the Douglas Munro. Ethan Kelch went missing while off-duty in Dutch Harbor and was later found unresponsive on the "west side of Amaknak Island."

He was pronounced dead at Unalaska's clinic.

Investigators have not yet released any information on what may have caused Kelch's death or whether they suspect foul play.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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