Fishing boat captain recalls terrifying night in frigid sea

The captain of a commercial fishing boat that sank last week in remote Aleutian waters said Monday he and other crewmen spent a terrifying night trying to cling to a wave-pummeled life raft.

The 11-man crew was forced to abandon the 93-foot vessel Katmai after it lost steering, flooded and rolled over in rough seas west of Adak early last Wednesday, said Henry Blake, who lives in Massachusetts.

That began a desperate fight for survival, Blake told a panel of federal investigators during a hearing at the Hilton hotel in downtown Anchorage.

Blake said he and six others made it into a life raft, which itself was filled with water as waves pounded against it and the men tried to secure a sheltering canopy in the wind gusts.

"And then a big one came," he said, a monster wave that overturned the raft and dumped the men -- all wearing survival suits -- into the frigid water.

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