Staff Report


An investigation is underway into the death of a Coast Guard member assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro who was found unresponsive and later declared dead Sunday morning in Dutch Harbor.

The Coast Guard member was identified as Seaman Ethan Kelch, 19, from Virginia.

“The Coast Guard is deeply saddened by the tragic news that we lost one of our own,” said Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr., Coast Guard 17th District commander. “As we mourn his death, we send our deepest condolences to Seaman Kelch’s family and loved ones.”

The Douglas Munro, which home ports in Kodiak, is in Dutch Harbor awaiting repairs. Kelch was reported missing during normal liberty hours Saturday night.

Crewmembers were deployed to conduct a ground search. An Air Station Kodiak MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew attached to the Douglas Munro was launched to search by air. Unalaska Fire and Police department personnel assisted in the ground search.

Search parties found Kelch unresponsive on the west side of Amaknak Island. Local emergency medical services personnel performed CPR and transported him to Iliuliuk Clinic. He was pronounced dead at the clinic early Sunday morning.

An investigation is underway, and the Coast Guard is working with local authorities to determine the cause of death.

Next of kin notification has been made.

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