February 14, 2023
A-Boats disaster claims 14 lives (1983)
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
One of the worst maritime tragedies in the history of Anacortes unfolded on Valentine’s Day 1983, when 14 crew members of the Anacortes-based Altair and Americus perished. The Americus was found overturned in the Bering Sea February 14, 1983, and no trace of sister ship Altair was ever found. The trawlers had left Dutch Harbor, Alaska, within four hours of each other, each carrying about 225 crab pots. Those lost on the Americus were skipper George Nations and his son Jeff, and crewmen Brent Boles, Larry Littlefield, Paul Northcutt, Vic Bass and Rich Awes. Lost with the Altair were skipper and part owner Ron Beirnes, and crewmen Jeff Martin, Tony Vienhage, Brad Melvin, Larkin Breckenbridge, Troy Gudbranson and Randy Harvey. They are memorialized at Seafarers Memorial Park. Nearly 15 years after the event, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Patrick Dillon wrote "Lost at Sea," recounting the tragedy.