Lawsuit filed in drowning death

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2002

RAPID CITY, S.D. - The family of a Rapid City man, killed when a chartered Southeast Alaska fishing boat capsized, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Sturgis, S.D.,-based company that owned and operated the boat.

Tona Tribby, representing the estate of Douglas G. Tribby, filed suit last month in state court in Rapid City seeking unspecified damages in connection with her husband's death July 8, 2001, near Wrangell.

Tribby's body was never found. A judge issued a certificate of presumptive death Aug. 15, 2001.

Defendants in the suit are Ramrod Charters of Wrangell, and co-owners Richard Deaver and Wayne Musilek of Sturgis.

The lawsuit alleges that Deaver and Musilek were negligent in maintaining and operating the 21-foot boat, skippered by Musilek, during a late-afternoon outing to retrieve crab pots in waters off Wrangell.

Deaver's attorney, Bruce Hubbard of Sturgis, declined to comment on the lawsuit. Musilek also declined to comment.

According to the lawsuit, the boat began taking on water after a line from one of the crab pots fouled the boat's propeller.

The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that the weight of the five occupants exceeded the boat's capacity, that the boat wasn't seaworthy because of modifications, and that there weren't enough lifejackets in good repair within ready access.

After the boat capsized, two of the occupants swam 300 yards to shore; two others were picked up by a rescue boat.



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