Story by U.S. Coast Guard,
8th District Public Affairs
MOBILE, AL - Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans area Coast
Guard units searched the Gulf of Mexico, south of Alabama, for a family
of five who were reported missing in a 32-foot shrimp boat. After four
days of searching more than 13,500 miles of ocean, an area larger than
the state of Maryland, the searchers’ fears became reality when one
victim was located deceased among a debris field.
Although the victim was wearing a life jacket, which is critical in
survival at sea, it was the lack of information on the family’s location
that frustrated search and rescue controllers in the Eighth District.
“When the initial report came in reporting the Krumm family overdue, we
were told they went shark fishing 40-miles south of Alabama in the Gulf. That’s an immense area- the location was much too vague,” Gatlin said.
The search and rescue controllers combined what little information they
had on the Krumm family’s location, the day’s weather forecast and sea
state into a computer program known as Computer Aided Search Planning
(CASP) to “map out” a search plan. Unfortunately, the area was more than
1,600 square miles, larger than the state of Rhode Island. An area that
far exceeded the endurance for any Eighth District unit.
“Our grid for the initial search was so large, we requested a C-130 long
distance plane from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., because we don’t have
an aircraft here with 12 hours worth of endurance,” he said.
Once the controllers had a search area, which was west of the shipping
lanes south of Mobile, they dispatched six different rescue units.
The margin of error for the Krumm family not to be somewhere in that
search grid, and not to be located by a Coast Guard unit, was huge,
But the search grid CASP recommended was correct. And less than six
hours into the search for the family of five, a boat crew from Station
Pascagoula, Miss., located a debris field, which contained items from
the Krumm’s boat, approximately five miles southeast of Horn Island; one
of the barrier islands to Mississippi.
Soon after locating the debris field of life jackets, a life ring, some
clothing, a mattress, a cooler, seat cushions and pieces of a fiberglass
boat, the wind was sucked from the rescue portion of search and rescue,
as searchers located the body of a young woman. Although 19-year-old
Sabrina Krumm was wearing a lifejacket, the Jackson County Coroner
stated Sabrina’s cause of death was drowning.
Two days later, searchers hadn’t located any of the four other missing
boaters, and officials had to make the tough decision to suspend the
active search for them. Five days later, Coast Guard personnel and the
Bon Secour, Ala., Fire and Rescue officials recovered two more bodies
from the tragic voyage.
No one could have looked into a crystal ball and seen the outcome to the
Krumm’s voyage, nor does anyone know if a proper float plan would have
assured their rescue. If a float plan was completed, the valuable time
lost to investigating the Krumm’s potential location would have been
eliminated, allowing units more time to search--and possibly save a