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Survivor of Boat Sinking: 'It Happened Really Fast'

Dean Gribble, one other crew member made it off the Scandies Rose; 5 are presumed dead
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2020 12:05 PM CST

(Newser) – Loved ones who spoke with crew members on the Scandies Rose crabbing boat shortly before it sank on New Year's Eve in the Gulf of Alaska, leaving two survivors and five missing and feared dead, say they didn't realize just how dire the situation was. Jeri Lynn Smith of North Carolina tells the Anchorage Daily News she spoke to ex-boyfriend Gary Cobban, the captain of the ship and one of the missing, about two hours Tuesday evening before the mayday call from the boat came in. Smith says that although Cobban mentioned the boat was icing, that was a common thing in Alaskan waters, and he didn't sound concerned. Ashley Boggs, fiancee of missing fisherman Brock Rainey, says he relayed a similar message. Meanwhile, in a short video posted on YouTube, survivor Dean Gribble, who was found alive in a life raft with John Lawler, describes the chaos.

The boat "started listing really hard to the starboard side," says Gribble, who's appeared on Discovery's Deadliest Catch. "From sleeping to swimming, it was about 10 minutes. It happened really fast." He notes his colleagues were doing all they could to make it off the boat safely, but that they were "in 20-foot seas, it's blowing 40, icy conditions, worst possible conditions. I've fished for 20 years, I know that you do not make it, [that] everybody would die in those situations." He adds he feels bad that only he and Lawler survived: "I just wish the other guys would've made it." Gribble and Lawler were treated for hypothermia and released from the hospital; the search for the other men was called off Wednesday. The Washington Post notes that commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations, per the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (Read more sinking stories.)

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