possible clue was gleaned Saturday in to the sinking of the
35 foot Carolina Classic sportfishing boat that went down in
the Neuse River almost two weeks ago. The boat was brought ashore
Saturday afternoon giving investigators a chance to examine
the hull more closely.
was brought on land at Sailcraft Services in Oriental
Coast Guard investigator, Lt. Charles Fluke said Saturday that
one issue may have been the shaft packing gland on the boat’s
port side. He did not elaborate. Under normal circumstances
packing would keep water from filling the boat via the shaft
There were no obvious holes apparent from examining the hull.
clue to the sinking may be the opened engine hatch, which stretches
across the width of part of the cabin. As TownDock.net reported
mid-week, the hatch was found in the open position when divers
got to the boat while it was still stern down, in the Neuse.
The key for one engine was found in the off position, and the
throttle in neutral. That might suggest that the crew had opened
the engine compartment to investigate something. But it is also
possible, Lt. Fluke said Friday night, that the compartment
opened when the boat sank.
look into the engine room for clues
men, Sam Puleo and Jim Surfice died in connection with the sinking.
The two left Edenton, where the boat was made at the Carolina
Classic plant, on Sunday February 5th. They were delivering
the boat to so that it could be part of this weekend’s
Miami Boat Show.
The Coast Guard says that it was told that the two men habitually
carried hand held VHF radios and cellphones when they made boat
deliveries. Coast Guard Commander for NC, Captain Dean Lee told
TownDock.net that a review of the recordings of incoming calls
to the Coast Guard found no distress calls from that area on
that Sunday. Captain Lee also said that while out at the site
of the sinking mid-week, Coast Guard crew found that their own
5-watt handheld VHF’s weren’t working.
evening, as crews were cleaning the boat of the mud, waterlogged
cushions and belongings, one handheld VHF radio could be
seen in a puddle amid other debris.
Lt. Fluke said Saturday that he would address whether there
was a “dead zone” for communication in that part
of the river. As for cell phones, Lt. Fluke suggested that cell
phone reliability depended upon the carrier.
Lt. Fluke says he will wrap up his investigation on Tuesday
Boat Delivery Turns Disaster,