Rescue on the Bering Sea
On March 23, 2008, shortly before 2 a.m., an
alarm rings on the Ranger when water gushes
past rudder room deck plates. An engineer alerts
the bridge. Within minutes all 47 crew members
are in the freezing waters of the Bering Sea.
Here’s how the rescue unfolded:
Around 2: 20 a.m.
Capt. Peter Jacobsen
decides the crew will need
to abandon ship.
By 2:40 a.m.
crew has donned
4: 35 a.m.
St. Paul Island
1: 53 a.m.
Around 2:00 a.m. 3:04 a.m.
The Coast Guard Coast Guard copters
crewmen playing Xbox take off from St. Paul.
hear Ranger mayday A roundtrip from
on St. Paul Island. They St. Paul to the Alaska
prepare for a rescue. Ranger site is two and
a half hours.
5: 10 a.m.
helicopter HH- 60
2: 29 a.m. Alaska Warrior receives
mayday call, 30 miles away from site.
KEY: Order of arrival on scene according to Coast Guard records
with other rescue
HH- 65 Dolphin
5: 25 a.m.
the Monroe at
4: 55 a.m.)
HH- 60 Jayhawk
(Launched from St. Paul
at 3:04 a.m.)
Spread over 1-mile area
CONDITIONS: 6,000 feet deep
and 32 degrees air temp. Winds
blowing at 30 to 40 miles per hour
making the wind chill below zero.
Water temp is 35 degrees. Waves
crest at 20 to 30 feet. Snow squalls
so severe, rescue helicopters
frequently cut their lights so the
pilots would not succumb to
People in rafts( 22)
Konno that most of the crew had no idea he spoke En-
glish until he began shouting obscenely articulate in-
sults at Slotvig during their heated exchange. Shuck
and other crewmen testified at a joint Coast Guard and
National Transportation Safety Board inquiry that Kon-
no had apparently ordered Slotvig to sail the Ranger
through pack ice 6 inches thick. Witnesses said the
Ranger’s hull screeched and shuddered.
Shuck describes the Ranger rico-
30 miles from Ranger when mayday
is received at 2: 55 a.m. ETA is 3 hours.
*First report of rescues is made at 6: 26 a.m. not to scale
GRAPHIC BY STEPHEN RAVENSCRAFT
cheting like a pinball between ice chunks.
Slotvig admitted he often let Konno pilot the Ranger.
“Konno was a Japanese citizen and should not be giving orders to the captain,” Knowles explains. “U.S. law
demands that American commercial fishing vessels be
controlled by an American captain, first mate and
Konno apparently went down with