Monday, April 28, 2014

ALASKAN MONARCH rescue remembered

In a daring rescue attempt that has been captured on video and rebroadcast many times in the years that have followed, STORIS responded to a distress call on March 15, 1990 from the grounded FV ALASKAN MONARCH on St. Paul Island. The fishin...g vessel had been attempting to enter St. Paul harbor when it was trapped in ice which threatened to drive the vessel ashore. STORIS arrived on scene and her crew brought the cutter in as close as possible to the rocky coast, setting her starboard anchor to help hold her off the rocks and swing her bow into the seas. Under the strain, the chain soon parted. Despite the potential danger the cutter herself was exposed to, in pitching seas and heavy wind and ice, STORIS crewmembers attempted multiple times to fire a towing line to the disabled fishing vessel. The fishermen were unable to secure the line. The situation deteriorated with the growing seas and ice slamming into the grounded vessel. The freezing water and ice swept across the deck of the hapless fishing vessel, threatening to capsize the ship. When grounding was imminent, a land-based Coast Guard Sea King helicopter from Air Station Kodiak safely removed four crewmen. The captain and chief engineer of the fishing vessel were swept overboard by the seas but were retrieved from the water by a rescue swimmer deployed from the helicopter. ALASKAN MONARCH was subsequently destroyed in place by the seas.

(Originally posted March 20, 2014)

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