The incident

On 31 January 2019, at the USCG Cutter Hickory buoy yard in Homer, Alaska, numerous crewmembers were carrying out several yard clean up, maintenance and repair, and organization tasks before a planned underway period.


A two person team was operating the Shuttlelift crane car, the Mishap Crane (MC), to move four distinct loads of Aids to Navigation equipment from the top of Container Express boxes to a location on the ground where they were subsequently moved via forklift to alternate locations.

The team was comprised of a rigger and crane operator. Neither of these members were qualified to perform these duties. During movement of the fourth load, the MC tipped over, with the boom fatally hitting the unit's Chief Warrant Officer 2 Boatswain who was engaged in conversation with another crewmember within the crane operating envelope. The MC incurred significant damage to its boom, but a total loss determination has not been made.

No other injuries or property damage were reported or discovered during the investigation.

Probable cause

The investigation found improper operation of the shoreside crane was the direct cause of the mishap. The investigation also indicated leadership deficiencies aboard the Cutter Hickory which contributed to inadequate crewmember training and complacency with shoreside operations.

See more details into the accident, in the following PDF