Monday, March 26, 2007

Coastie involved in Seattle accident identified

From Seattle PI and the pen of Casey McNerthney:
The King County medical examiner identified Ronald Gill as the Coast Guard petty officer who died of injuries he suffered falling out of a fast-response boat Sunday.

Gill, 26, of Cranston, R.I., was on Puget Sound north of Vashon Island when he fell from a 25-foot-long boat at about 2:15 p.m. The medical examiner said he hit the boat's propeller, which caused skull fractures, cerebral lacerations and cerebral contusions.

The vessel was one of two such boats from the Coast Guard maritime safety and security team involved in the exercise. Gill and other officers were doing security patrols and training when the accident occurred.

A Coast Guard spokesman said he thinks Gill may have been sitting on the bow, but on Monday did not disclose exactly what caused the fall.

A third response boat was operating in the area and came to the petty officer's aid, taking him to the Fauntleroy ferry terminal in West Seattle.

People waiting for a ferry to Vashon Island watched as the Coast Guard brought Gill back to the dock. Emotional officers hugged each other as he was put on a gurney, and paramedics took over rescue efforts.

The Seattle Fire Department rushed him to Harborview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The fast-response boats are nicknamed "defenders" and have become highly visible symbols of the Coast Guard's security efforts since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Washington State Ferries Spokeswoman Marta Coursey said Monday there were no ferry delays because of the accident. Coast Guard security operations were not interrupted Sunday, a spokesman said.
The Associated Press is reporting:
Gill was assigned to the Marine Safety and Security Team of Anchorage.

Gill was a reservist on active duty who had served in the Coast Guard since October 2003. He was a native of Cranston, R.I., and is survived by his wife, his parents and a brother.
And on further surfing, of course the AP is reporting that... while the Coast Guard had been slow in posting official information, looks like they're up to speed now. If I'd checked out the official news first... well, never mind; there are details in the top article you will not find here. From a CG press release:
The Coast Guardsman who perished in Sunday's tragic accident north of Vashon Island has been identified.

Petty Officer Third Class Ronald Gill of Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) Anchorage, based in Anchorage, Alaska, was a native of Cranston, R.I., and is survived by his wife, his parents and brother. He was a reservist on active duty who has served the Coast Guard since October 2003. His previous assignments included Marine Safety Office, Providence, R.I. and Port Security Unit 301 in Cape Cod, Mass. He had been assigned to MSST Anchorage since August 2004.

MSST Anchorage was performing an operation in Puget Sound Sunday when Petty Officer Gill was ejected from a 25-foot fast response boat. He was transferred to a waiting ambulance at Fauntleroy Cove and transported to Harbor View Medical Center where he was declared deceased.

VADM Wurster, the Pacific Area Commander stated, "Petty Officer Gill was a dedicated Coast Guardsman and patriot. He was performing Coast Guard Homeland Security operations, a mission he genuinely enjoyed. The entire Coast Guard is deeply saddened by this accident. Our prayers, thoughts and sympathy are with the family, friends and shipmates of Petty Officer Gill."

MSST Anchorage was deployed to Seattle to conduct Maritime Homeland Security operations during the month of March. Sunday was the final scheduled day of operations. MSST Anchorage is preparing to return to Alaska.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.
A sad time for the MSST community and the Coast Guard Reserve. Petty Officer Gill's family will be in my thoughts and prayers; please hold them in your thoughts and prayers, too.

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