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Search for Five Missing Crab Fishermen Suspended

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The Scandies Rose (file image via social media)

By The Maritime Executive 01-02-2020 01:56:00

On Wednesday evening, the U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for five missing fishermen from the vessel Scandies Rose, which went down Tuesday night in the waters near Sutwik Island, Alaska.

The search spanned over 20 hours, 1,400 square miles and included multiple assets. Four MH-60 helicopter aircrews, two HC-130 Hercules airplane crews and the Coast Guard cutter Mellon participated in the effort. 

After exhausting all leads and making a careful consideration of survival probability, the Coast Guard suspended the search pending new developments.

"The decision to suspend an active search and rescue case is never easy, and it's only made after careful consideration of a myriad of factors,” said Rear Adm. Matthew Bell, 17th District Commander. "Our deepest condolences to the friends and families impacted by this tragedy."

Watchstanders at the 17th District Command Center in Juneau received a mayday call via High Frequency radio on Tuesday evening from the Dutch Harbor-based fishing vessel Scandies Rose. The vessel soon capsized and sank about five miles southeast of Sutwik Island, near Chignik. She had seven crewmembers on board. 

Watchstanders at Air Station Kodiak received a mayday call from the Scandies Rose over high frequency radio at about 2200 hours Tuesday and relayed the distress call to the command center for search and rescue coordination. The station launched an MH-60 helicopter and an HC-130 search aircraft. The helicopter crew rescued two survivors from a life raft; a second life raft was found nearby, and it was empty. 

The weather on scene was challenging, with winds in excess of 40 miles an hour, 15-20 foot seas and visibility of about one mile.

Authorities have identified the five missing fishermen as Gary Cobban, Jr. (master); David Lee Cobban; Arthur Ganacias; Brock Rainey; and Seth Rousseau-Gano. The two survivors are Dean Gribble, Jr. and John Lawler.