2 Agencies Looking Into Fishing Boat Accident

From a Times Staff Writer

The National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard have announced investigations into the cause of last Thursday's boating accident off the Coast of Baja California that has apparently claimed the lives of 10 of 12 persons aboard.

A survivor said the boat was capsized by a giant wave.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Charles Crosby said a two-man team is scheduled to begin looking into the accident sometime later this week. The NTSB has had its investigation under way since Saturday.

After both agencies make their investigations, representatives from both groups will meet, most likely in another week, Jim Burnett, NTSB chairman, said. From that point, both agencies are expected to conduct hearings on the cause of the accident, he said.

Meanwhile, vessels from H & M Landing in San Diego, where the Fish-n-Fool sportfishing boat was based, are continuing to scour the coastal area about 150 miles southeast of San Diego, Phil Lobred of H & M Landing said.

"We were told by the Coast Guard that it would be three to five days that the bodies would float on the water if they sunk," Lobred said. "Now is the time to intensify the search."

Lobred said the company has also obtained a plane to help in the search for bodies.

Coast Guard officials suspended their 30-hour search of a 300-square-mile area for possible survivors Friday night after recovering one body and determining that the cold water and strong currents would have prevented the other victims from surviving.

"In our opinion we exhausted our ability to find anyone out there," Coast Guard spokesman John Sullivan said.

Two of the 12 on board survived the accident: Jim Sims, 29, of Riverside, and Kathy Compton, a crew member, of San Diego. The body of George M. Stinson, 40, of Orange was recovered, and nine others are missing: Steve Rhoads, 25, Costa Mesa; Ken Baldwin, 64, and Timothy York, 25, both Huntington Beach; Gary LaMont, the skipper, age unknown, Spring Valley; Kent Springman, 37, Riverside; Rusty Paxton, age unknown, Riverside; Max Pfost, 52, Riverside; Scott Milliron, 20, Lakeside, and Terry Milam, 39, Norco.

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