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Man Missing in Alaska Boat Search

October 22, 2002

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ A crewman was missing Tuesday after being swept overboard from a ship searching for two survivors of an explosion and fire on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea.

The man was aboard the Clipper Express, a 138-foot Seattle-based vessel that on Sunday rescued two people swimming in survival suits after they abandoned the burning vessel Galaxy.

The 180-foot Galaxy was hundreds of miles off Alaska with a crew of 25 and an observer from the National Marine Fisheries Service when the explosion rocked it Sunday. The Seattle-based ship is used to catch and process Pacific cod.

Fifteen Galaxy crew members were picked up in a life raft by other fishing vessels, and three more wearing survival suits were pulled from the 45-degree waters by fellow fishermen. But two men were missing.

The Clipper Express was trying to ride out 30-foot seas and winds of more than 55 mph when the crewman was lost, said Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Roger Wetherell.

Wetherell said the Clipper crewman was not wearing a life jacket or a survival suit. His name was not immediately released.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation.

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