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Accident Report Detail

Sinking of Motor Vessel Exito

Executive Summary


On December 6, 2016, about 2140 local time, the uninspected motor vessel Exito sank while transiting from Dutch Harbor to Akutan, Alaska. During the transit, the vessel had been struck by a wave and began listing to starboard. Unable to determine the source of the list as it progressively increased, the captain ordered the Exito’s second crewmember and three contractors who were also on board to don immersion suits and abandon the vessel. The crew and one contractor evacuated to a liferaft, but two contractors were unable to escape the Exito before it sank. The survivors were recovered shortly after by a good Samaritan vessel. US Coast Guard aircraft, a Coast Guard cutter, and other vessels searched for the missing contractors, but they were never found. About 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel, twelve 55-gallon drums of anti-freeze, and an industrial X-ray machine were released into the sea when the vessel sank. The Exito, valued at about $310,000, was lost.

Probable Cause


The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the sinking of the motor vessel Exito was progressive flooding from an undetermined location. Contributing to the loss of life was the carriage of personnel on board, other than crewmembers, who were inadequately prepared and equipped for an emergency.​

Accident Location:   , AK   Bering Sea, 4 miles north of Cape Kalekta, Unalaska Island 54° 05’ N, 166° 20’ W
Accident Date: 12/6/2016
Accident ID: DCA17FM004

Date Adopted: 12/15/2017
NTSB Number: MAB-17-40
NTIS Number:  

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