Niagara Gazette

March 23, 2011

Deceased members of the Coast Guard honored

Staff Reports
Niagara Gazette

NIAGARA FALLS — YOUNGSTOWN — The  U.S. Coast Guard at Station Niagara held a memorial ceremony Wednesday to remember two of their own.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Chism and Seaman Chris Ferreby died 10 years ago in Lake Ontario’s waters. The 21-foot vessel they were in was struck by a 4-foot wave and capsized on the evening of March 23, 2001. Chism and Ferreby were among four crewmembers who were left stranded in the 36-degree water.

A search began when the vessel missed its communications check at 8:01 p.m. but was hampered by the crewmembers’ decision to enter Lake Ontario without notifying the station, according to published reports. A Wilson Volunteer Fire Department boat crew recovered all four crewmen at 12:27 a.m. March 24, 2001 and the boat’s crew commenced CPR on Chism and Ferreby, who were in cardiac arrest.

Chism and Ferreby died after lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful.

The other two crewmembers, Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Moss and Petty Officer 3rd Class William Simpson, suffered from hypothermia but recovered and were able to return to duty. The tragedy led to the Coast Guard making servicewide changes to equipment and training procedures.

The Coast Guard’s vice commander, Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara, and Ninth District Commander Mike Parks were among the officials participating in the afternoon ceremony. Also in attendance were members of the Coast Guard and the Youngstown Fire Co. and family members, including Ferreby’s young son, Tyler.

During her remarks, Brice-O’Hara assured Tyler he had a father “who loved you deeply, who was proud of what he chose to do and who has taught us much that we need to know to be a better Coast Guard.”

The service was followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the permanent memorial at Coast Guard Station Niagara, where Chism and Ferreby had been stationed.