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Author Topic: Four crab boat crewmen missing in Bering Sea  (Read 4144 times)
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3D
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« on: January 17, 2005, 10:08:39 AM »


Four crab boat crewmen missing in Bering Sea
Two dead in separate incidents


Monday, January 17, 2005


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Two fishermen were killed and four others were missing in the choppy Bering Sea after two separate accidents on the opening day of the dangerous snow crab season.

The 92-foot Big Valley and the 134-foot Sultan went out after snow crab amid stormy seas and up to 40 mph winds. The Kodiak-based Big Valley sank Saturday 70 miles west of St. Paul Island, about 750 miles west of Anchorage.

Three crewmen found by helicopters Saturday were wearing bulky survival suits, but two of them died. Cache Seel, 30, of Kodiak, was treated at a Saint Paul hospital after he was found floating in a life raft.

Kodiak resident Gary Edwards, the skipper and owner of the Big Valley, was aboard the vessel and among the three missing, Seel told authorities, said Coast Guard Lt. Charter Tschirgi. There were believed to be six men aboard.

Also missing was a crewman washed off the Sultan 150 miles northwest of St. Paul Island. Alaska State Troopers identified him Sunday as Manu Lagai, 33, of Spokane, Washington. Lagai was wearing only rain gear, not a survival suit, when he went overboard, said trooper spokesman Tim DeSpain.

The search was to continue Monday, said Chief Petty Officer Darrell Wilson.

Sunday's search took place in 12-foot seas. In the 37-degree water, the survival rate is estimated at slightly more than five hours for people wearing survival gear, according to Wilson.

"But that's just a chart," he said. "A lot depends on how healthy you are to begin with, how much body fat you have. So the numbers are kind of approximate. We've been proven wrong many times."

A major reason fishing for king and snow crab is so dangerous is that the shellfish are harvested in winter, when their legs are fullest with meat. Boats heave and dive in rough weather, large waves break over the gunwales, and wooden deck planking often ice over.

In the race for crab, fishermen skip sleep to launch and haul hundreds of 600-pound steel traps that capture the crabs on the sea floor.

From 1991 to 1996 in Alaska's crab fisheries, 61 people died, with most of the fatalities occurring when boats were operating in heavy weather, according to a study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

For the past four seasons, the winter snow crab fishery saw no vessels sink and no one die. The season that began Saturday may be the last derby-style crab fishery before individual fishing quotas kick in.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/01/17/crab.boat.sinks.ap/index.html


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mikesr
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2005, 09:04:24 PM »

Sad, but expected.  That is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.  They crab in conditions we have nightmares about.  God bless their families.
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mrscharms
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2005, 11:18:56 PM »

Yes, I read that in the paper today...I remember seeing  a special on this type of crabbing...one of the most dangerous jobs in the world...and I believe it happened on opening day.  So sad. 
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rock n crab
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2005, 08:27:33 AM »

Not good...... My friend and I almost took a dip in the same body of water while working on Adak, one of the Aleutian islands. We were caribou hunting from a 17' boat and hit something in a little over 300' of water that split the transom... We were taking on water big time and had to put on Mustang suits to help protect against the cold water... we were lucky someone was in the area and helped us.... Not a good feeling at all.
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mrscharms
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2005, 12:17:29 AM »

At least you  guys made it...I haven't seen any  followup on these poor fellas, though!  That must have been a very scary ordeal..........I just can't imagine doing this for a living...putting  your life at risk...I guess it is the money they can make..

Janice
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BenFolds
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2005, 02:28:09 AM »

Tough job.  But Cache Seel is a really cool name...
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