Friday, October 20, 2006

This time, not a movie

Rescued Swimmer
Originally uploaded by Box of Light.
Found the following article about a rescue this week in Alaska... could have been plucked straight from THE GUARDIAN.
Two men died and a third was missing after a commercial fishing boat capsized south of the Alaska Peninsula. A fourth crewman from Lynchburg was plucked from the North Pacific and was in critical condition.

The 49-foot, 50-ton Ocean Challenger, whose home port is Adak in the Aleutian Islands, disappeared about 60 miles south of Sand Point, a community on Popof Island off the tip of the Alaska Peninsula.

Kevin Ferrell, 28, was the only person wearing a survival suit, the Coast Guard said. He was assisted in the water by a rescue swimmer and hoisted to safety Wednesday by a Coast Guard helicopter.

The bodies of skipper David ''Cowboy'' Hasselquist, 51, of Hoonah, Alaska, and crewman Walter Foster, 26, of Westport, Wash., were pulled from the water.

The missing man, a 26-year-old Kodiak fisherman, was not wearing a survival suit, the Coast Guard said.

The Ocean Challenger had been fishing for black cod near the Sanak Islands and was traveling back to Sand Point when it disappeared, vessel owner Barry McKee said.

Officials said they did not know what caused the boat to capsize. Residents in Sand Point, a city of 940 about 570 miles southwest of Anchorage, said the weather has been severe. The Coast Guard reported 29 mph winds with 20-foot seas and an air temperature of 48 degrees.

Just before 10 a.m. Wednesday, a 600-foot car carrier, the Overseas Joyce, on a trans-Pacific voyage, heard a nearby boat send out a mayday, the Coast Guard said. The freighter was close enough to see the Ocean Challenger capsize and the crew throw a lifeboat out, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard sent a helicopter, a C-130 airplane and the 378-foot cutter Munro to the location. The first helicopter, a Jayhawk, arrived about an hour after the distress call.

The Jayhawk lowered a basket and hoisted Ferrell and the bodies of bodies of Hasselquist and Foster. Ferrell was taken to the Cold Bay Clinic about 50 miles away, then to an Anchorage hospital.

Coast Guard C-130 pilot Lt. Jerred Williams told the Anchorage Daily News he arrived on scene in the afternoon with a second crew to look for the missing man.

“'The waves were so high you actually got white caps at the top of the wave,” he said. “And, then, with the wind streaking across the blue water, and the white turbulence everywhere, it made it very challenging to find a person in the water.”
Yup... straight from the cutting room floor...

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