Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Something new from Discovery Channel

The doomed trawler Alaska Ranger in drydock in Japan prior to 2008 sinking in the Bering Sea. USCG photo

Sounds like the Discovery Channel, home of the hit reality series "Deadliest Catch," is rolling out more high-seas drama from Alaska.

According to the press release below from the U.S. Coast Guard, the cable channel tomorrow night will present "Mayday! Bering Sea," a 60-minute documentary about the sinking of the Alaska Ranger.

Five crewmen including Capt. Eric Peter Jacobsen, 65, of Lynnwood, Wash., died early on Easter morning in 2008 when the factory trawler flooded and sank about 120 miles west of Dutch Harbor.

The good news was 42 crewmen were saved in what instantly became the stuff of rescue legend.

Here's the press release:

U.S. Coast Guard, 14th District

March 1, 2010

Coast Guardsman to appear in search and rescue documentary

HONOLULU — A U.S. Coast Guardsman from Air Station Barbers Point will be featured in a cable documentary, which is scheduled to air Wednesday.

The Discover Channel documentary "Mayday! Bering Sea" tells of the Alaska Ranger, a 189-foot fishing vessel that sunk in the icy waters of the Bering Sea, March 23, 2008. Petty Officer 2nd Class Abram Heller, a native of Worland, Wyo., was part of the rescue efforts to save 42 fishermen who went into the water after the Alaska Ranger sank.

Heller, an aviation survival technician who was part of the helicopter aircrew that responded to the distressed fishermen, was lowered from the helicopter into frigid waters. He sent victims up to the helicopter via a rescue hoist basket and gave up his own spot in the helicopter so that another survivor could be saved. Heller is credited with saving eight lives and received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his acts of heroism.

In total, crews from Air Station Kodiak and the Coast Guard cutter Munro rescued 20 Alaska Ranger crewmembers in 10–foot seas and 25-mph winds.


Anonymous said...

Heller went into the water, and due to the load weight/fuel, this allowed the helo to pick up another survivor. He also went in with a raft and scooped two more survivors that were in suits (and not in a raft) which increased their chance for survival. When he got dropped off, it was dark and snowing, and he had no way to know if the the helo crew would be able to find him again. But he trusted his fellow CG men, and they did not let him down.

Anonymous said...

God be with all those who were lost and their families. I lost my brother at sea a few years back.

Anonymous said...

This was a heart wrenching documentary. Well done effort by Discovery Channel to tell a horrendous story. I had a lump in my throat the whole show. God Bless those who perished and those who live with the memories of that fateful day.