The incident occurred as a small boat launched from the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut, based in Marina del Rey, was approaching a panga-type vessel suspected of illicit activities, said Coast Guard spokesman Adam Eggers.
“When the Coast Guard small boat approached with its blue law enforcement light energized, the suspect vessel, identified to be a profile Mexican-style panga, maneuvered at a high rate of speed directly toward the Coast Guard small boat and struck it before fleeing the scene,” Eggers said.
Two crew members were thrown into the water, and both were immediately recovered by the Coast Guard small boat, Eggers said.
One member suffered a traumatic head injury, and the other had minor injuries, he said.
The crewman who was killed, Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III, 34, of Redondo Beach, was declared dead at about 2:20 a.m. Sunday, said James Baroni, chief deputy with the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Horne’s body was brought to shore at Port Hueneme, Baroni said, as was the injured Coast Guard member, whose name and condition were not released.
The cause of Horne’s death was expected to be released Monday, Baroni said.
Other Coast Guard personnel were able to stop the fleeing panga, and detained two suspects, Eggers said.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our shipmate,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends, and his shipmates aboard Coast Guard Cutter Halibut.
“We are focused on supporting them during this very difficult time,” he added. “Our fallen shipmate stood the watch on the front lines protecting our nation, and we are all indebted to him for his service and sacrifice.”
SWAT team members from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to the scene to assist other agencies, according to Sgt. Mark Williams, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman.