A 44-year-old Alaska man has agreed to plead guilty to charges that on two occasions he intentionally rammed humpback whales in southeast Alaskan waters with the 34-foot jetboat he was piloting, court documents say.
The plea agreement calls for Kevin B. Carle, of Craig, to be sentenced to two years of probation and pay a $1,000 fine for violating the Endangered Species Act. The plea is in response to federal misdemeanor charges of "knowingly harassing, pursuing and harming whales with the boat he was piloting in Trocadero Bay, Alaska, and near Breezy Bay, Alaska."
At press time, no court date had been set. The maximum sentence for the crime is one year in prison or five years' probation and a $100,000 fine, the plea documents say.
As an employee of Columbia Helicopters, a commercial logging and air transportation business based in Portland, Ore., Carle on April 1, 2008, "veered off course and knowingly and intentionally directed the boat towards the humpback whale, resulting in the boat striking the whale," the plea agreement says.
On Sept. 12, 2008, Carle "turned the boat off course and drove the boat directly toward a humpback whale at a high rate of speed," the document says. "Just as the whale started to dive, Carle ... hit the whale broadside with the boat."
Carle used the boat to ferry Columbia Helicopters' loggers and supplies between Craig and their logging camps, and he no longer works for the company, according to the plea document.
The whales were not found, so it's not known whether they were injured, according to published reports. Said Carle in the Anchorage Daily News: "I just want it to be over and done with."