Search Ends for Five Missing on Crab Boat
February 1, 2020
An extensive search launched by the US Coast Guard for the crab vessel Scandies Rose, which sank in a storm in the Gulf of Alaska on New Year's Eve, ended some 20 hours later, with two crew members rescued and five still missing.
Crew members Dean Gribble Jr. and John Lawler, both wearing survival suits, were hoisted by a Coast Guard helicopter from a life raft and taken to medical facilities in Kodiak, where they were in stable condition, the Coast Guard said.
Coast Guard officials at Kodiak made the decision to suspend the search for the 130-foot vessel at 6:08 p.m. on New Year's Day, after operations spread over 20 hours and 1,400 square miles.
The vessel's last known position was 170 miles southwest of Kodiak, near Sudwik Island, in the Gulf of Alaska.
The five missing crew members were identified by the Coast Guard on Jan. 2 as Gary Cobban Jr., master; David Lee Cobban, Arthur Ganacias, Brock Rainey and Seth Rousseau-Gano.
"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."
Before the names of rescued and missing crew members were released., people in the industry were on social media, some identifying by name those whom they believed to have been onboard, including a father and son.
Others, including veteran crab harvester Keith Colburn, wrote on Facebook that they were praying for the crew, their friends and their families.
The search involving four MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews and two HC-130 Hercules airplane crews began after the Coast Guard's Juneau watchstanders received the May Day call via high frequency radio about 10 p.m. on New Year's Eve. The Coast Guard also diverted the cutter Mellon from the bering sea to join in the search.
The Coast Guard said winds at that time exceeded 40 miles an hour, with 15 to 20 feet seas and one mile of visibility under snowy skies.
Dan Mattsen, a partner in the Scandies Rose, which was homeported out of Dutch Harbor, told The Seattle Times that the vessel had left Kodiak with pots for the winter crab season in the bering sea. While some crab stocks are struggling, bering sea snow crab stocks have continued to bounce back and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game had set the quota for the fishery, which opened on Oct. 15, at 34,019,000 pounds, including 30.6 million pounds for those with individual fishing quota and 3.4 million pounds for community development quota holders.
According to Mattsen's LinkedIn website, the Scandies Rose fished its own bering sea crab quota and leased quota shares from others to maximize yields to partners of the Scandies Rose Fishing Co., which owned the vessel.