Coast Guard crew members aboard a vessel that struck a boat and killed an 8-year-old boy during a Christmas parade told investigators they didn't see the boat before the collision and had no discussion about it, according to documents released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Petty Officer Jarett Koelmel estimated the Coast Guard vessel was going 20 to 25 knots _ 23 to 29 mph _ when it hit a boat in San Diego Bay carrying three families who had just watched a fireworks display. Five other people on the boat were injured.
The Coast Guard was responding to a report of a grounded boat on the crowded bay.
Koelmel, a lookout, was toward the back of the vessel and wasn't looking at the speedometer but estimated the speed based on engine sounds. He didn't believe the boat was cruising with its bow up, only because he didn't remember holding on to the sides.
No one said anything in the moments before the crash, Koelmel recalled.
"It just occurred," he said, according to a transcript.
Petty Officer Lavelle Teague, another lookout, didn't remember the speed or if the bow was up, according to an investigator's notes. Teague said no one saw the pleasure boat.
The driver, Petty Officer Paul Ramos, and the two other crew members refused to speak with investigators, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said.
Tests on all five Coast Guard crew members showed no signs of drugs or alcohol in their blood or urine.
The NTSB did not assign blame or explain what went wrong in the more than 4,000 pages of interview transcripts and other documents that were released.
"It contains absolutely no new information," said Mike Neil, an attorney for the family of Anthony DeWeese, the boy who died. "Absolutely none."
Neil, who represents the family in a wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government, said he believed the 33-foot Coast Guard vessel was going too fast on Dec. 20, 2009, and its bow rises too easily when it picks up speed, blocking the driver's view.
Alan DeWeese told investigators he drove his father's 26-foot Sea Ray slowly through the bay to enjoy the spectacle of the parade with family and friends, possibly reaching 5 mph at his fastest. He looked back and saw a boat coming toward him fast, thinking it would change course.
When he looked again, he slammed the throttle forward but it was too late.
"I could tell that they had no clue that we were even in the water," DeWeese said, according to a transcript of his interview by investigators.
After the Coast Guard crashed atop his boat, DeWeese accounted for two of his children but couldn't find Anthony, who was seated in the back. He screamed, "Where's my son?"
He found Anthony face down in a pile of life jackets, "not moving, not conscious, just in a weird position." His face was covered with blood.
Ramos faces a court-martial next month on charges of involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide and aggravated assault.
Ian Howell, the highest-ranking member of the patrol boat crew that night, faces charges of negligent homicide, assault, negligence with a boat and dereliction of duty.
Both men have pleaded not guilty.
Petty Officer Brittany Rasmussen was reprimanded but avoided time in the brig after pleading guilty to dereliction of duty in military court.
The Coast Guard dropped a charge of dereliction of duty against Teague. Koelmel was never charged.