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4 rescued, 5 dead in loss of Alaska fishing boat

October 23, 2008|The Associated Press

Four crew members of a fishing boat were plucked alive from a life raft in frigid, stormy seas in a remote Alaskan island chain Wednesday, hours after their vessel was reported in distress, a Coast Guard spokesman said. Five crew members died, and two remained missing.

The search continued for the last crew members of the Katmai, a 93-foot fish processor based on Alaska's Kodiak island, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Levi Read.

The water was 43 degrees when rescuers hauled the survivors out of the raft, Read said. He couldn't speculate on how long they had been in the raft because it was not known exactly when they abandoned their boat. Still, he said, several factors helped them survive.

"That takes a lot of fortitude and a lot of heart," Read said. Their survival suits, their physical condition and an effort to keep one another warm and awake all could have helped them endure, he said.

The four survivors were discovered near the Amchitka Pass, which links the Bering Sea to the Pacific Ocean about 1,400 miles southwest of Anchorage. Read said they had asked to stay with the Coast Guard to help with the search.

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