After a 20-hour search that spanned 1,400 miles, the Coast Guard suspended its search for five missing fishermen Wednesday night after the Scandies Rose capsized and sank near Sutwik Island.
Of the seven crew members, just two were saved by the Coast Guard after they were found floating in a life raft at 2 a.m. Dean Gribble, Jr. and John Lawler were transported to Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center and released. They flew out of Kodiak Wednesday, according to Gerry Cobban Knagin , the sister of Capt. Gary Cobban Jr., one of the fishermen who disappeared.
The other crewmen who were not found include David Lee Cobban, Arthur Ganacias, Brock Rainey and Seth Rousseau-Gano.
The two survivors put on their survival suits and got into a life raft when the boat was sinking.
“Yeah, it was f--- from sleeping to swimming 10 min,” Gribble Jr. wrote on Facebook.
The vessel left Kodiak at 8:59 p.m. Monday, headed to the Bering Sea, and sank Tuesday night. According to a Facebook post written previously by one of the fishermen who disappeared, the boat was fishing for opilio crab.
After the rescue, the two men suffered from hypothermia and were transported to Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, according to the rescue swimmer who retrieved them from the life raft.
Cobban Knagin met the survivors at the hospital, bringing them food and cellphones, and helped organize their trips to leave Kodiak
“They were arriving here with nothing. They had no clothes, they had nothing,” Cobban Knagin said. “I just couldn’t let them be here with nothing, with no support.”
Friends and family of the disappeared crewmen said the Scandies Rose crew were all veteran and talented fishermen.
Gary Jr. was a lifelong commercial fishermen. He fished since he was 19 years old, and safety was important to him, Cobban Knagin said.
“He never would have taken that boat out if he didn’t think it was safe to do so,” Cobban Knagin said.
The Cobban family moved to Kodiak in 1967. Gary Jr. is survived by two siblings, three children and several grandchildren.
“He had been full time captaining vessels since he was 19 years old… He was at home on the ocean,” Cobban Knagin said.
Cobban Knagin said that Gary Jr. had no chance of survival, but hopes that David, who was in a survival suit and got off the boat, is still alive.
The National Weather Service had released a gale warning and freezing spray advisory for the area of the accident. A freezing spray advisory means light to moderate accumulation of ice is expected on vessels, which can add weight to a boat.
Conditions at the site included low visibility, from half a mile to three miles; 20- to 30-foot seas; wind gusts of up to 57 mph; temperatures of 10 degrees and minus 4 degrees with windchill.
Survival at sea is measured in minutes, said Drew Salzborn, one of David’s friends.
“The relative difference in temperatures, combined with the large surface area that the water is in contact with,” Salzborn. “It saps you to hypothermic levels in minutes if not protected. Even with cold weather survival suits, the kind required on fishing vessels extends this to an hour maybe two.”
Seattle-based fisherman Jon Ramlo knew Gary Jr. and the two survivors.
“These were immaculate fishermen. Everybody did their job well,” Ramlo said. “This is a loss, a big deal. We all take it very personally. We all want to get to the bottom of what happened.
Finding out what happened would inform fishermen of what can be done differently to prevent future situations like this, Ramlo said.
The Scandies Rose was a 130-foot steel crab fishing vessel that provided commercial fishing services to various seafood companies. It was managed by Mattsen Management, LLC and was homeported in Dutch Harbor.
The boat primarily fished in the Bering Sea and could hold 60,832 gallons of fuel and over 7,600 gallons of potable water. In addition to crabbing, the boat tendered for Ocean Beauty Seafoods during the summer.
The Coast Guard is investigating the accident and has not released information about what caused the boat to sink.