72.9 F
Cruz Bay
Saturday, January 29, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesFlorida Man Presumed Dead After Sailboat Mishap

Florida Man Presumed Dead After Sailboat Mishap

June 3, 2005 — A Florida man is missing and presumed dead after ascending a sailboat mast that later toppled into the sea south of St. Croix, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Friday.
Peter Church, 22, of Clearwater, Fla., climbed the mast of the 32-foot boat on Wednesday to free a sail that had become entangled. Heavy winds swung him into the mast, knocking him unconscious, said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. J.G. Eric Willis.
According to Willis, Church was seated in a pulley-propelled boatswain chair at the top of the mast and became tangled in the boat's rigging. The boat's two other crew members, Sean Riley and Capt. Gerald Listokin, were unable to pull him down.
The crew began cutting lines to free Church when the roughly 40-foot-tall mast fell over, plunging Church 20 feet below the ocean surface in five-foot seas, Willis said.
Riley, 42, dove into the sea but was unable to find Church. Listokin radioed a distress call to the Coast Guard at approximately 4 p.m.
Riley and Listokin cut the mast loose of the boat soon after the incident, fearing the rough seas might cause the mast to puncture the boat's hull, Willis said.
At 7 p.m. a Coast Guard jet spotted the boat, and a Dutch navy ship patrolling the area reached the boat soon after.
Rescue teams could find no sign of Church.
After the sailboat encountered engine trouble, the Dutch war ship towed the sailboat 60 miles north to Frederiksted. FBI agents interviewed and released Riley and Listokin, Willis said.
Coast Guard officials were unsure why the mast fell but dubbed the sailboat "unseaworthy."
It was not clear where the boat had sailed from or the crew's next port of call, Willis said.
Back Talk

Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.



JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,558FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more