Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Research Ship's Crew Member Missing

A crew member of an Antarctic research ship is missing and presumed dead after apparently falling overboard in rough weather, the National Science Foundation said. The foundation's research vessel Laurence M Gould was travelling from Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula to Punta Arenas, Chile, when the crewman was discovered missing yesterday. Weather and sea conditions were harsh, with winds gusting between 20 and 40 knots (37km/h to 74km/h), seas building to 6 metres with rain and snow, the foundation said in a statement. The crew member was identified as Joshua Spillane, 31, a marine technician who has worked for 10 years in the US Antarctic program.
Research Vessel Laurence M Gould
Mr Spillane, an employee of Raytheon Polar Services Co of Centennial, Colorado, has been involved in more than 30 cruises aboard the Gould and its sister ship, company spokeswoman Valerie Carroll said in a telephone interview. "They were making a routine transit from Palmer Station to Punta Arenas, transporting passengers and cargo," Ms Carroll said. After Mr Spillane was found to be missing the ship did an about-face, she said. "They're doing grid-pattern searching right now." Argentina and Chile are helping with the search, Mr Carroll said.

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