Charlie Chevalier still recovering at Harborview; 'He's still very weak'

Charles Chevalier is still at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, recovering from near drowning when his purse seiner sank off the southwest side of San Juan Island Aug. 28.

“Yesterday, Charlie was able to get up and walk around a little, but he’s still very weak,” crew member Ken Edwards told the La Conner Weekly News today. “He’s back on the ventilator to give his lungs a rest.”

Chevalier's purse seiner, the Anna J, rolled and sank Aug. 28 while taking on a load of humpies off San Juan Island. Chevalier, of Friday Harbor, and his five crew members were rescued from the water by nearby fishermen and the U.S. Coast Guard after the incident, which occurred at in the evening at about 6:30 p.m.

Chevalier was flown by air ambulance to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, in critical condition with salt water damage to his lungs. Crewmember Nick Nash was flown to St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham, where he was treated for a concussion and later released.

The other crewmembers – John Cayou, Ken Edwards, Adam Sam and Bernadette Stone – were released on island and returned to the mainland on the 10 p.m. ferry from Friday Harbor.

Becky Nash, Nash’s sister-in-law, said she was at the beach earlier in the day and the water looked "really rough," with white caps.

Stone said, “A stay on the boom broke and the boom fell over to starboard. The waves came up suddenly and the boat went over.”

Edwards added, “The boat was old, but everything looked to be in good shape.”

The day after the sinking, personnel from the Department of Ecology and the National Park Service patrolled the beach, retrieving that which was retrievable.

On the water, Ecology, the U.S. Coast Guard and Islands Oil Spill Association searched the area for the Anna J’s hull. A crew member said that she went down with 400 to 450 gallons of fuel.

The agencies assessed the beach and found no negative impacts from the spill. The agencies believed that most if not all hazardous debris from the vessel had been retrieved, although divers were not able to find the boat's fuel tanks.

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