Man Who Survived a Week at Sea May Face Charges

Nathan Carman, 22, survived the ordeal. His mother has not been found.

boat 1

The Coast Guard shared this photo of the Carmans’ 32-foot-long aluminum fishing boat named ‘Chicken Pox’ after they went missing last weekend. U.S. Coast Guard Newsroom

Update, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2:30 p.m.: Federal investigators are now lending a hand in the search for answers about the mother-son fishing trip that ended in tragedy. State and federal authorities from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont, are all helping with the case, South Kingston Police Chief Vincent Vespia announced Thursday. Nathan Carman, the 22-year-old rescued after eight days in a life raft, has also given interviews with the media since returning to his home in Vermont. He says the attention given to the case has compounded his grief over the loss of his mother. He also criticized outlets that have dredged up the history of his grandfather, who was murdered in 2013. Carman was once a suspect in the man’s killing. “He was like a father to me,” Carman says.

Update, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 1:30 p.m.: Nathan Carman, the man rescued from a lifeboat near Martha’s Vineyard after more than a week at sea, may face charges related to the death of his mother on the ill-fated fishing trip. The Globe reports that investigators believe Carman may have taken the boat further from shore than his mother wanted to during the overnight expedition, that repairs he made himself to the boat may have rendered the vessel unsafe. For that, he may be charged with operating to endanger. The revelations came in documents authorities filed while seeking a search warrant at Carman’s Vermont home.

Update, 5:15 p.m.: The Hartford Courant reports that survivor Nathan Carman has left the Coast Guard base in Boston with his father, who arrived in the city from California. The Courant also reports that police conducted a search of Carman’s Vermont home Monday night, and that documents show he was a suspect in the unsolved killing of his grandfather in 2013.

Earlier: The Coast Guard was meeting Tuesday with a man whose harrowing journey in a fishing boat ended in tragedy last week.

The man, 22-year-old Nathan Carman, of Vermont, was rescued off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and arrived in Boston Tuesday morning. His mother, 54-year-old Linda Carman, of Connecticut, is still missing and officials say it’s likely she died at sea.

The rescue came after a far-ranging search for the pair of boaters when they failed to return from a trip on Saturday, Sept. 17. The Coast Guard spent six days searching 62,000 square nautical miles—an area the size of Georgia—looking for the Carmans before calling off the search on Friday. The 22-year-old spent more than a week at sea before coming across a Chinese freighter headed to Boston.

According to the Globe, Carman has told the Coast Guard that his 32-foot-long aluminum boat called Chicken Pox began to sink unexpectedly. He then boarded a life raft and tried fruitlessly to find his mother, he says.

A Coast Guard spokeswoman says Carman underwent a debriefing at the Coast Guard base, as is standard for all survivors of shipwrecks.

“We just want all the information,” says Petty Officer LaNola Stone. “Mostly so we can ascertain what happened during the search.”

Carman is in good health and his father has arrived from California to be with him, Stone says.

The unfortunate turn of events is only the latest tragedy to strike for Carman’s family. The Globe reports that Carman went missing as a teenager in Connecticut, reemerging hundreds of miles away in Virginia. His grandfather was also the victim of a murder in 2013. The case has still not be solved despite a $250,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.