Joshua Spillane

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    Not good news. The 31-year-old LMG marine tech apparently went overboard sometime Monday 17 April, he was reported missing early afternoon after not being seen since about 0500. This was about halfway between Palmer Station and Punta Arenas as the LMG headed north.

    The ship went back to look for him but that took several more hours, water temps were 43°F so….

    As far as I know this is the first death aboard a US Antarctic Program research vessel that did not occur while the vessel was docked at a South American port (!)

    There are many news reports from Denver, Bellingham (his home) and elsewhere, including (at this point) a Tuesday NSF press release (not mentioning his name) before the death was confirmed.


    I didn’t know Josh, but his death impacts everyone in the program. I googled his name and came up numerous reports from science groups who used the USAP boats. Everyone remarked how dedicated he was. He will be missed by many.


    I met Josh for the first time on the boat down here (Palmer) last week. The LMG stayed at the pier for 3 days and then headed north. Two days later we had an all-hands meeting where we heard the news of his disappearance.

    Since then I’ve been trying to imagine what could have happened, or even how it could happen. As bad as things have been on station, it must be much worse on the ship. They took turns on watch, searching, so at least they had some sense that they were doing something. They’ve called off the search now, but the ordeal is not yet over. They’re expected back in PA Saturday morning, to be met by officals from various government agencies, Chile, and RPSC.

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