Chandler man Kai Hamik among those presumed lost at sea off the coast of Alaska

Posted at 7:59 PM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-15 08:56:38-05

A Chandler man, Kai Hamik, is one of six commercial fishermen lost at sea off the coast of Alaska.

"He was so sweet and caring and funny," Hamik's girlfriend, Amanda Hawkins, said. "He loved everyone."

With a name like Kai, which means ocean, you could say he was destined for life on the open sea. 

"He just loved the water so much; it was always calling to him," Hawkins said.

The adrenaline of crabbing grabbed him. This winter he was part of the six-person crew on the Destination.

"He called me early Friday morning to tell me he loved me and that he misses me, and he would call me in a day when he makes it to St. Paul," Hawkins said.

Hamik, 29, never made it.

On Saturday the U.S. Coast Guard responded to an emergency beacon near St. George Island in the Bering Sea. Rescuers searched in the water and from the sky for nearly 70 hours. 

Hamik's parents and girlfriend flew to Alaska to be close to the rescue operation.

Before suspending the search Monday, the Coast Guard found a debris field, including an oil sheen, tarps, buoys, even a life ring from the vessel. They did not find the ship nor any survivors. 

"We are all heartbroken and trying to find comfort in each individual way that we can," Hawkins said.

What caused the tragic sinking with all aboard? The owners of the Destination say they'll work with the Coast Guard to solve the mystery.