The Coast Guard rescued two crew members and called off a search for five others after their 130-foot crab fishing boat, Scandies Rose, capsized and sank in 45-knot winds and 21-foot seas about five miles off Sutwik Island on the south side of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.
The boat issued a Mayday call at 10:15 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, with the crew saying it was taking on water and listing. The Coast Guard in Kodiak launched an immediate search and rescue operation. At 2 a.m. the next morning, a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter lifted two crew members, who were wearing survival suits, from a life raft and took them to a hospital in Kodiak.
One of them, Dean Gribble, Jr., posted a video on YouTube (see it below). He said the boat “started listing really hard on the starboard side. From sleeping to swimming, it was about ten minutes.”
The Coast Guard searched for the other five men, including the boat’s captain, Gary Cobban, 61, and his son, David, 30, using four helicopter crews, two airplane crews and a cutter. The search covered more than 1,400 square miles before the Coast Guard called it off, “after exhausting all leads and careful consideration of survival probability.”
The National Weather Service issued gale warnings for the area before the boat capsized and sank. It was en route from its home port in Dutch Harbor with a load of pots to start the winter season in the Bering Sea. The air temperature was 15 degrees that night; the water temperature, about 40 degrees.
The forecast warned of heavy freezing spray, with a risk of sea spray freezing on decks and gear, potentially loading them with heavy ice. Two hours before the boat sank, Cobban called a friend in North Carolina to wish her a happy new year. He told her the boat was icing and had a list, but said there was nothing to worry about; that happened every winter. See the video and read more: