Coast Guard searching for crew members of crab vessel that sank in Gulf of Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska – A search is underway for five crew members of crabbing boat F/V Scandies Rose, which sank Tuesday night south of Sutwik Island, west of Kodiak.
Two crew members were air-rescued from a life raft near the vessel’s last known location, about 170 miles southwest of Air Station Kodiak. Another life raft in the area was found empty, said U.S. Coast Guard District 17 spokeswoman Melissa McKenzie.
The Coast Guard has not officially identified any of the crewmembers.
The crew placed a mayday call around 10 p.m. Tuesday, the Coast Guard said. McKenzie said she didn’t know what time the two crew members were found, or what their condition is.
McKenzie said investigators don’t know what might have caused the ship to sink. Efforts right now are focused on finding the remaining five fishermen; then an investigation will launch into what caused the vessel to sink. She said families of most of the crew have been notified.
News about the Scandies Rose spread rapidly through the tight-knit commercial fishing community Wednesday. Facebook pages for other crabbing vessels posted in support of their sunken sister boat, and fisherman and their loved ones commented on the tragedy.
Ramlo found out when he logged into Facebook around 9 a.m. from his home in Killeen, Texas, where he lives when he’s not out at sea. Ramlo got into the industry in 2016, working to unload ships’ catch onto a processing dock when they come to harbor.
“We’re all trying to play detective here. I’ve been getting a lot of messages,” said fisherman Jon Ramlo. “Nobody really knows what the hell happened.”
“That was the first boat I ever stepped foot on,” Ramlo said of the Scandies Rose.
Ramlo said he knows the captain and the two rescued men. He said his heart sank when heard the news. His phone buzzed all day, as he connected with others in the community pining for some good news.
Having been through some close calls, Ramlo tried to think of what it would be like to have to jump ship, or to be in your bunk when the boat starts to go down. Was it an equipment failure, or a vicious act from Mother Nature? he wondered.
McKenzie said the weather Tuesday night included winds in excess of 40 mph, 15- to 20-foot waves and one mile visibility. She didn’t know what the crew was fishing for.
The U.S. Coast Guard is using a Jayhawk helicopter and Hercules airplane to search a 300-square-mile area for the remaining five.
Scandies Rose is a 130-foot steel crabbing vessel built in 1978 and homeported in Dutch Harbor.