Tragic news that a commercial crab fishing boat has gone down in the Bering Sea has stunned the close-knit community that spawned the hit show “Deadliest Catch” and, for members of its cast, the reality that six of their colleagues are likely gone has them in tears.
Late Monday, the Coast Guard suspended its search for the crew of the 100-foot fishing vessel Destination, and Capt. Keith Colburn, one of the stars of the Discovery channel show, told Fox News he knows their chances of survival are slim.
“You don’t want to give up hope, but the reality is that, an instantaneous capsizing — the survival rates are less than 1 percent,” Colburn said. “It’s a miracle if someone gets out alive.”
“Deadliest Catch” features crews that fish for crabs on the rugged Bering Sea, charting their successes and failures and spotlighting the dangers of the job.
The Seattle-based Destination vanished early Saturday after a radio beacon sent an emergency signal from 2 miles off St. George Island, off the western coast of Alaska.
A search for the boat and its crew members — identified as Charles Glenn Jones, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, Kai Hamik and Jeff Hathaway — proved fruitless.
Colburn said he heard about the missing vessel from Sig Hansen, who captains The Northwestern on “Deadliest Catch.” Colburn, who considered Destination’s captain, Jeff Hathaway, and engineer, Larry O’Grady, close friends for more than 25 years, told Fox News that if anyone survived, the Coast Guard would have found them. Even in survival suits, the waterproof suits fishermen wear to protect them from hypothermia in case they go overboard, rescue must come quickly.
“A window of life is 18 or 20 hours — that window of life evaporated very quickly,” Colburn told Fox News. “You’ve got a very good, safety-conscious crew on a really good boat, and something catastrophic happened.”
The U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Alaska issued a statement on Monday night announcing the suspension of the search. “We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the six crew members during this extremely difficult time,” Rear Adm. Michael McAllister, Coast Guard 17th District commander said in a statement. “The decision to suspend a search is always difficult and is made with great care and consideration.”
The Coast Guard coordinated 21 searches, totaling more than 69 aircraft and surface hours and covering approximately 5,730 square miles. The cause of the incident is still under investigation. For Colburn, Hansen and the others who risk their lives at sea to put food on America’s tables, the fate of their peers is only the latest reminder of the aptness of the reality show’s name.
“This is a warning to never get complacent — to always be vigilant at sea,” Colburn told Fox News. “The grand sea is a very wicked place to work — my heartfelt condolences to the families and the children associated with the boat. We’re going to miss them.”
I love this show and this one hits home. I lost a childhood friend who died when he got caught up in the lines as they threw out the cages. He died in the Bering Sea doing what he loved.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families, friends and the entire community.
Rest In Peace patriots.