Petty Officer Third Class Travis Obendorf died in a Seattle hospital Dec. 18 as a result of injuries he sustained during search and rescue operations near Amak Island, Alaska, Nov. 11, while serving aboard Coast Guard Cutter Waesche.
Obendorf's family was by his side when he passed away in Swedish Hospital following surgery.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Petty Officer Obendorf's family and his shipmates aboard Coast Guard Cutter Waesche during this difficult time,” said Vice Adm. Paul Zukunft, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area.
At the time of his injury, Waesche personnel were conducting small boat operations to assist the disabled fishing vessel Alaska Mist with 22 mariners aboard. During the first transfer of passengers, Obendorf was injured while recovering the small boat. A Coast Guard helicopter crew transported him to Cold Bay for a commercial medevac to Anchorage and further medical care. Obendorf’s family arrived in Anchorage shortly thereafter. He was then transferred to Swedish Hospital Dec. 6 for continued medical care.
"Petty Officer Obendorf’s selfless actions directly contributed to rescuing five mariners in distress. His willingness to assist others, even amidst the dangerous environment of the Bering Sea, truly embodies the Coast Guard’s core values," said Waesche’s commanding officer, Capt. John McKinley. "Travis will be sadly missed."
The Coast Guard is investigating the incident.
For information about the Alaska Mist search and rescue case, please see www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/1962946/.