The Coast Guard’s deadly accidents
The U.S. Coast Guard – the fifth branch of the military – has suffered a string of potentially avoidable and sometimes deadly accidents, along with hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment damage, lawsuits from civilians and internal investigations that have questioned safety procedures.
Reporter G.W. Schulz of The Center for Investigative Reporting examines the safety record of the Coast Guard dating back to 2000 and finds lapses in judgment and missed opportunities to strengthen safety standards to protect crew members and civilians.
This “Reveal” investigation introduces us to a Coast Guard pilot whose helicopter ran into transmission wires that weren’t properly marked. We also talk with the family of a Coast Guard member who died as a result of a risky boating maneuver. And we speak to the former commandant of the Coast Guard about the service’s safety record.
Listen to our segment and read the full story from CIR here.
- Between 2000 and 2013, 27 aviators and other Coast Guard personnel were killed on land, in the air and at sea.
- Last year, the Coast Guard reported 56 injuries from aviation accidents, the highest in the previous 13 years.
- After the 9/11 attacks, the Coast Guard ramped up training for terrorist attacks, staffed major public events like political conventions and started escorting passenger ferries, a significant expansion from its search-and-rescue mission.
- The Coast Guard recorded at least $375 million in property damage from accidents between 2000 and 2013, with $155 million occurring in 2010 from aviation accidents alone.
Featured image: A Defender class Coast Guard vessel checks on a fishing boat run aground at Cape Disappointment near the Oregon-Washington state line. Credit: Ben Adair