State Briefs

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2001

Second trip to view Arctic Rose yields more clues to accident

ANCHORAGE - The Coast Guard team investigating the sinking of the Arctic Rose gathered more clues from a remote-controlled camera during a second expedition to the Bering Sea site where the vessel went down.

Despite rough seas that caused problems for operators of the video camera, investigators could see portions of the ship not seen during the last effort, including an open water-tight door between the deck and the fish processing area.

"We got some very good video this time - not everything we wanted, but a great deal of it," Capt. Ron Morris said Sunday in a telephone interview from aboard a fishing vessel chartered for the probe. Morris is chairman of the panel investigating the tragedy.

The 92-foot Arctic Rose sank suddenly April 2, 775 miles southwest of Anchorage. All 15 men on board were killed. It was the worst U.S. commercial fishing disaster in 50 years.

Morris and two other Coast Guard investigators were reviewing the 45 minutes of underwater videotape as they made their way back to Unalaska.

The pictures show that a door from the trawl deck to the processing area was open, Morris said. That door is supposed to be kept closed so that water doesn't get in and threaten the vessel's stability.

At hearings earlier this summer, witnesses told the investigators the water-tight door was frequently tied open.

"We'll do some more evaluation of that," Morris said. "We're probably going to revisit some of our previous witnesses."

The return trip to the site enabled the team to see more of the sunken vessel than they were able to view during the first attempt last month.

That first effort ended abruptly when the cable controlling the remotely operated vehicle became tangled in lines from the Arctic Rose and snapped. The camera was lost in 450 feet of water.

Just 15 minutes of usable video images were obtained before the cable broke.

On this trip, a crew from Maritime Consultants, a Puyallup, Wash.-based company, spent 12 hours from Friday afternoon to early Saturday morning maneuvering the remotely operated camera around the ship.

Once again, the camera became tangled in lines several times during this latest effort, Morris said. "It's not a kind environment down there at the bottom."

Morris said the videotape raised new questions and the panel would call on those familiar with the vessel to help them understand what they saw.

The Coast Guard investigators were due to reach Unalaska today and were scheduled to hear from expert witnesses in Seattle beginning Tuesday.

Kenai woman sentenced for assisting in rape of girl

KENAI - A Kenai woman was sentenced to six years in prison, with two and a half years suspended, for her role in the rape of a 13-year-old girl last year.

Dianna D. Eddens, 20, of Kenai, will receive credit for nearly six months she has spent in jail.

In prison, she will be required to participate in any sex-offender or psychological treatment offered by the Department of Corrections. She also was sentenced to five years' probation.

Eddens and David W. Anderson, 28, of Kenai, were originally charged with first-degree sexual assault in connection with the incident, which occurred June 13, 2000. However the state allowed Eddens to plead no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree sexual assault in exchange for her testimony against Anderson.

Anderson was convicted this month of first-degree sexual assault, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $75,000. He is to be sentenced Nov. 30.

Anderson and Eddens were acquaintances of the girl, Eddens testified. They invited her to go camping with them in Cooper Landing. During the drive back to Kenai the next day, Anderson pulled onto a secluded road in Sterling. Anderson grabbed the victim and laid her on the hood of the car, Eddens testified. Eddens held the victim's wrists while he raped her, Eddens said.

"I was scared of him and what would happen if I didn't. I didn't know if he would kill us both," Eddens said.

Her father, James Eddens, described Dianna's troubled childhood. She was a follower, not a leader, he said, and she chose friends that led her into trouble.

Dianna Eddens apologized for her actions and said she has changed.

"I don't know how to explain how bad I feel about what happened. I wish I could say I'm sorry to (the victim), but I've been told to stay away from her, so I haven't. I am really sorry for what I've done."

However, the victim's mother said her daughter never would have been with Anderson if it hadn't been for Eddens. Since the rape, she said, her daughter has been in trouble with the law and in and out of counseling.

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