Five fishermen whose wave-battered vessel went down fast in a sudden squall in Southeast Alaska early Friday abandoned ship but were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
One of the crew members injured his back when he fell climbing into a skiff and was airlifted to Ketchikan for treatment. The crewman was delivered to authorities there with relatively minor injuries, said skipper Vaughn Skinna, reached by phone in Klawock Friday evening.
The rest of the crew of the 58-foot Seafarer, a purse seiner based out of Klawock, were safely rescued after they radioed for help and abandoned ship into the skiff.
Skinna, 42, said the herring vessel was near Clarence Strait, heading to Thorne Bay, when a short-lived squall broke out and waves began pummelling its bow. It only took a few hits before the Seafarer, a family-owned vessel, began filling with water and started going down, he said.
"It just started taking on water really heavy in the engine," Skinna said. "It was flipped on its side. It was capsized. ... God spared us, simple as that. We were in a bad way."
Crew members tried to save the ship, bailing water from its flooded engine room, while Skinna shot out two Mayday calls, he said.
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