A collision between a Coast Guard boat and a Navy vessel near Kodiak Island, Alaska on Wednesday landed six coasties and three sailors to the hospital, officials said.
The collision occurred right off shore from the Coast Guard facility on Womens Bay as the 38-foot special purpose craft training boat was returning from routine helicopter hoist training, Lt. Cmdr. Scott McCann, a Coast Guard spokesman, told Task & Purpose.
Meanwhile, the crew of a Naval Special Warfare combatant craft medium (CCM) were conducting their own routine exercise nearby, according to Lt. Matthew Stroup, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Command.
The two vessels were damaged in the collision, but McCann said no additional support was needed to get them back to shore.
According to the Anchorage Daily News, the Kodiak Fire Department Chief said a critically injured patient was transported off Kodiak Island.
Though the Coasties were checked out of the hospital the next morning, Stroup could not comment on the health of the three sailors other than to say they were all in stable condition.
Now it's just a matter of figuring out what exactly caused the incident.
"That's the big question," McCann said.
The weather conditions were calm at the time of the collision, McCann said. Toxicology tests were conducted on all the individuals involved, though the results are not yet available.
Navy Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman conduct maritime operations June 20, 2019 on the Black Sea in coordination with Trojan Footprint 2019. (Navy photo/Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jayme Pastoric)
The Navy boat may have been tough to spot in the dark night of an Alaskan winter, especially given that CCMs are designed to be hard to see, even close to shore, as The Drive reported in 2017.
Stroup explained that CCMs are multi-mission craft used primarily to insert or extract special operations forces or provide fire support.
An investigation into the collision could take anywhere from several months to more than a year to complete.
According to McCann, the Navy and the Coast Guard are currently figuring out which of them will take the lead on the investigation