Dean Gribble Jr./ YouTube and Scandies Rose/Facebook
The Coast Guard has ended it’s 20-hour, 1,400 mile search for five missing fishermen in Alaska after their fishing boat capsized on Tuesday (December 31). The search yielded two survivors of the 7-man crew, one of which was a former member of the Discovery Channel show Deadliest Catch.
Dean Gribble Jr., a 20-year fishing veteran and former star of Deadliest Catch, was aboard the Scandies Rose when it departed Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and headed into unsafe weather conditions including 20 foot seas and 40-mph winds. The crabbing vessel was carrying loads of crabbing pots into the Bering Sea when it began to list due to icing on the boat.
“On the 31st, we just started listing really hard on the starboard side,” Gribble said in a brief YouTube video following his rescue. “From sleeping to swimming was about 10 minutes. It happened really fast. Everybody was trying to get out. Everybody was doing everything they could, and it was just really a (expletive) situation.”
The Coast Guard received a mayday call and immediately launched rescue efforts, arriving on the scene around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. They used helicopters, planes and boats to search for crew members. “Rescuers noticed a faint light in a life raft in the distance, which is where the two surviving men were discovered,” the Anchorage Daily News reported.
Gribble and John Lawler were found on the life boat, both suffering from hypothermia. They were transported to a hospital on Kodiak Island and treated. The two have since been released.
“I have fished for 20 years. I know that you don’t make it. Everyone dies in those situations. And I knew that’s what we were going into,” a visibly emotional Gribble said in his YouTube video.
According to the Seattle Times, Gribble told his father, also a fisherman, that he and Lawler were knocked off the boat by a wave. They both had survival suits on that helped protect them from the frigid waters. They made it to the life raft, which was released from the Scandies Rose as the boat went down. A second raft was spotted by Coast Guard crews, but it was empty.
Among the missing are the boat’s captain, Gary Cobban Jr., the captain’s son, David Lee Cobban, Arthur Ganacias, Brock Rainey and Seth Rousseau-Gano, the AP reported. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these men.
See footage captured from the Scandies Rose in 2010, filmed in the Bering Sea during “heavy weather,” in the video below.