Monday, October 24, 2005

The rest of the story...

I am reprinting the following from our son's website and invite you to write your own thoughts or comments if you would like to.

"... I wanted to share something very important:

The media recently covered the story of my Dad’s accident. They tried to tell it from the typical ‘unbiased’ perspective that they are charged with. However, ratings are always a factor in such reports and I wanted to clarify some things for my close friends as I know all of you have been reading as much as you can to find out.

Yesterday, Channel 3 in Duluth, gave a news report and showed pictures of the boat that had been crippled and crushed against the shores of Superior. They prefaced the newscast by saying “Both the Kooyer Family and the Coast Guard want to inform more people of boat safety” or something very close to that. In the articles and on the broadcast the Coast Guard blames the fact that they were unable to rescue my Dad on the fact that “they had no location” and he could have been anywhere in from Bayfield to some other end of Superior. Here are some additional details that the media left out:
1. When my Dad called he originally called on channel 16. This is the standard procedure when calling in a Mayday.

2. He informed them he had about 5 minutes before his boat hit the rocks. Before he could get more out, they asked him to switch to a different channel. We think “22″. The Coast Guard then “lost contact”.

3. When they recovered the boat and investigated they found it on channel 24. Now realize that these were four foot waves.

4. The radio is located below the steering wheel and in the short time he had to react any number of things could have occurred while the boat was pitching left to right. He knew he was in trouble.

5. He grabbed all of his belongings including his wallet, keys and even his iPod and attempted to get on shore.

6. He made it to shore and was alive and well and OFF of the boat. No thanks to the Coast Guard.

7. He tried to save the damn boat. This is what ultimately caused his death.

The thing that has bothered all of us though is this: The Coast Guard gracefully dodged addressing their policy on camera or in print. They didn’t even mention that they asked him to change channels and lost contact. If they had spent 15 seconds with him on channel 16 and simply asked his location before telling him to switch over he would STILL BE ALIVE.

I know this may read as a very frustrated and saddened young man mourning for his Dad. All of that is true. We’re not blaming the Coast Guard for their mistakes. We simply believe their policy is flawed.

I needed to do that for me, my brother, my mom and all of my family who believe that in order to invoke change you have to speak out. Brian and I called the television station today. We spoke to Maureen the head of the Newsroom there and she offered to interview us and give us the chance to tell it from our perspective and to tell them of the communication flaw in the Coast Guard’s current procedure. We were to go at 2pm. We decided that my Dad would just tell us to “let it go”–and that the media might make it worse.

Thanks again to everyone for sending us your love and support.

Adam K."

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