SEATTLE — A 19-year-old fisherman whose boat capsized in the chilly waters of southern Alaska floated for more than 24 hours in a 4-foot plastic fish tub, singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” to keep his spirits up during an anxious night.
Ryan Harris was finally rescued from his battle with 8-foot waves by a Coast Guard helicopter, which had joined a massive search of the waters around Sitka, Alaska, for Harris and his crewmate, Stonie Huffman, the Sitka Daily Sentinel reported.
Huffman survived, too, though he didn’t have a bin in which to float. Instead, he was able to don a buoyant survival suit, grab on to the lid of one of the fishing bins, and battle the crashing waves to head toward shore.
“It’s truly a miracle they survived,” Sitka Mountain Rescue director Don Kluting told the newspaper.
The two men had set out for a routine day of fishing for coho salmon when they were hit with twin problems: a failed hydraulics system and high waves crashing around their aluminum boat.
Just as they managed to make repairs to the hydraulic system, the boat went down a steep wave that dumped a deluge of water in the bow of the boat. Almost immediately, a second large wave hit the stern, and the two men found themselves in the water, with the boat going down.