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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Alaska Ranger Update

Life raft from the fishing vessel Alaska ranger(PHOTO BY PA3 Richard Brahm)

KODIAK, Alaska - A life raft from the fishing vessel Alaska Ranger floats in the Bering Sea after the survivors were rescued by the Coast Guard.(PHOTO BY PA3 Richard Brahm)

Latest news of this event from various sources is as follows:

1. Flooding started in the rudder room, which had always been a problem area on this vessel.

2. Vessel was a converted oil patch boat. Former captain considered her top heavy for a fish boat.

3. Crew told not to talk to the press by vessel's owners.

4. USCG crews undertook a brave and highly successful rescue. Individuals of the Coast Guard went above and beyond in rescuing crew.

5. Captain of Alaska Ranger made sure everyone put on their survival suits before abandoning ship.

6. Captain and 3 crew, including engineer and first mate, were the last to leave vessel. They apparently died of hypothermia after 6 or more hours in the frigid water.

7. Seas were in the twenty foot range, which isn't uncommon for the area this time of year.

8. It was cold enough to make ice. There was a report the deck of the other vessel, Alaska Warrior, which arrived to assist, had ice on its decks. The ice prohibited the Coast Guard Helo on scene from using the Warrior as a rescue platform.

9. The Alaska Range sank in 15 minutes in over 1,000 fathoms of water.

Questions about the cause of the vessel's foundering will remain open for some time. However, we can speculate that even if the entire rudder room was flooded, there had to be something else not quite right to cause the vessel to sink so quickly.

Our condolences to the family and friends of those who were lost. And our thanks to the men and women who assisted in the rescue of those who survived.


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