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Deckhand dies on F/V Ocean Prowler

January 24th, 2011 | Rose Cox Print this article   Email this article  

The Alaska State Troopers has confirmed the death of a crew member on the F/V Ocean Prowler.

The longliner owned by John Winther and partners is based out of Petersburg, Alaska. The crew was fishing for Pacific cod near St. Paul Island when Oracio Jimenez Gomez, 34, of Arizona fell ill Jan. 17 and went to his quarters to lay down, according to Megan Peters, an information officer for the Alaska State Troopers.

Crew members checking on Gomez later found he was not breathing.

"They attempted to resuscitate him, but were unable to do so," said Peters.

The fishing vessel reported the death Jan. 17 to the Unalaska Police Department, who contacted the state troopers, Peters said.

Gomez has fished out of Dutch Harbor since 1999, said his uncle, Fred Roman of Kirkland Wash., in a telephone interview.

"All I know is apparently there's a flu or something going around the boat and he died in his sleep," Roman said.

Roman worked as a captain on boats out of Dutch Harbor for a couple decades. He first worked with Gomez on the F/V Pacific Monarch in 1999.

Roman described Gomez as a friendly guy who started as a greenhorn and quickly learned the ropes.

"You knew he was going to be one of those great deckhands. He went up there and worked hard to support his family," Roman said.

Gomez, who was born in the United States, helped family members living in Mexico as well as supporting his mother, brother, sister, and his son and the mother of his child, who live in Tucson, Roman said.

"He always had a smile on his face. He was a gregarious, charitable person. He was a giver."

Gomez worked as a deck hand aboard the F/V Ocean Prowler.

The state troopers could not confirm that other people on the vessel were ill, Peters said.

The vessel was expected to dock in Dutch Harbor on Jan. 22. Gomez's body will be transported to the state medical examiners office in Anchorage for an autopsy.

"It sounds like it was some type of natural death, but until we actually get the body, we won't know anything else," Peters said.

The Alaska State Troopers will investigate the death based on the results of the autopsy, she said.


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