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Coast Guard Hero Dies Following Injury During Alaska Rescue

USCG Cutter Waesche, United State Coast Guard

A Coast Guard rescuer has succumbed to injuries from a rescue near Amak Island, Alaska.

Petty Officer Third Class Travis Obendorf, a shipmate serving on the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche from Alameda, California, was injured during a rescue on November 11, 2013.  The 166-foot Alaska Mist, a fishing boat, had 22 mariners aboard.  It became disabled about thirty miles off the coast of Amak Island.  The Coast Guard said that at the time of the rescue winds were between forty and forty-six miles per hour and seas were ten feet. Obendorf was recovering a boat transferring the first group of passengers from the ship when he was hurt.

Obendorf was brought to Cold Bay and then sent via medevac to Anchorage, Alaska for care.  His family arrived soon after and, on December 6th, he was transferred to Swedish Hospital.  His family was at his side when he passed last night.

Petty Officer Obendorf’s selfless actions directly contributed to rescuing five mariners in distress.  His willingness to assist others, even amidst the dangerous environment of the Bering Sea, truly embodies the Coast Guard’s core values,” said Waesche’s commanding officer, Capt. John McKinley. “Travis will be sadly missed.”

Vice Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commander of the USCG Pacific Arena said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Petty Officer Obendorf’s family and his shipmates…”

The Coast Guard says it is still is investigating the November 11th incident.




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