Vancouver-area man dies in Alaska fishing boat accident

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Vancouver-area man dies in Alaska fishing boat accident

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Vancouver-area man dies in Alaska fishing boat accident

The Columbian - May 01, 2008


A Vancouver-area man died last week on a fishing boat off the Aleutian Islands. William C. Roberts, 38, had been trying to fix an apparent refrigerant leak on the fishing boat Zenith.

Roberts was overcome by a gaseous refrigerant, said Petty Officer Richard Brahm with the U.S. Coast Guard. Crew members aboard the 125-foot fishing boat radioed the Coast Guard around 8 p.m. April 24, saying they had found Roberts unconscious.

They attempted CPR but could not revive Roberts, Brahm said. The gas exposure was so severe that crew members needed to don protective suits.

Roberts died about 72 miles southeast of False Pass, Alaska, in the Aleutians East Borough.

The Alaska Medical Examiner’s office found exposure to the refrigerant caused Roberts’ death, said Greg Wilkinson, information officer with the state Division of Public Health. Refrigerants contain fluorinated hydrocarbons that, when inhaled can cause heart and lung problems and also burn the intestinal tract, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Roberts lived in the Heritage neighborhood in Sifton with his wife, Tara, and three daughters: Savannah, 8; Lorelai, 4; and Avalon, 18 months.

Born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, Roberts moved to Newport, Ore., and then the Vancouver area. He worked as a skipper for Seattle-based Jubilee Fisheries, which owns the Zenith.

A memorial service for Roberts will begin at 10 a.m. Friday at New Heights Church, 7913 N.E. 58th Ave.

SOURCE: ... cident.cfm
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