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Coast Guard: 4 dead, 1 missing in fishing vessel's sinking

  • Story Highlights
  • Four crew members of Seattle-based Alaska Ranger died, Coast Guard says
  • Others were rescued, but one person is still unaccounted for, spokesman says
  • Boat was about 120 miles west of Dutch Harbor in remote Aleutian Islands
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(CNN) -- Four crew members died and one was missing in the frigid waters off Alaska's Aleutian Islands after their fishing vessel sank Sunday, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

A crew member of the Alaska Ranger is taken on board the Coast Guard Cutter Munro.

The Seattle, Washington-based Alaska Ranger was in 10-foot seas and winds of 30 to 35 miles per hour when it reported water was leaking into its steering gear compartment about 2:50 a.m. Sunday.

The trawler had 47 people on board, said Chief Petty Officer Barry Lane, a Coast Guard spokesman.

Four of those had been confirmed dead by late morning, Lane said.

One person is still unaccounted for, said another Coast Guard spokesman, Lt. Eric Eggen. Watch a report from Lt. Eggen »

The 180-foot processing trawler was about 120 miles west of Dutch Harbor, in the remote Aleutian Islands, when the crew reported being "overwhelmed by water" and abandoned ship, Eggen said.

Most of the crew had survival suits to protect them from water that was near-freezing, said Cmdr. Todd Trimpert, a Coast Guard spokesman. No cause of death was immediately known for the four crew members who died, but "certainly, they were in the water a long time," Trimpert said.

"Without a survival suit, generally your survival time is less than 30 minutes," he said.

The company that owned the ship, The Fishing Company of Alaska Inc., identified the four who did not survive as Captain Eric Peter Jacobsen, Chief Engineer Daniel Cook, Mate David Silveira and Crewman Byron Carrillo.

"They were incredibly brave, hard-working men," the company said. "Our hearts are broken."

A nearby ship, the Alaska Warrior, rescued 25 crew members while the Coast Guard retrieved the rest of the crew, the company said.

"We do not have sufficient information to determine why the vessel foundered," the company said. "We will do everything possible to find out what occurred with the hope that something can be learned that will be of value to the fishing community."

Amy Roman, a niece of Daniel Cook, told CNN affiliate KING-TV that her uncle "died how he wanted to.

"If you're a fisherman, you want to die out at sea," she said. "If you're a true fisherman, this is how you want to go."

Survivors were being taken aboard the Coast Guard cutter Munro. A helicopter and a C-130 transport plane were also taking part in the effort, the Coast Guard reported.

The sinking left an unknown amount of diesel fuel on the surface of the Bering Sea, Lane said.

The fishing industry is perennially among the most deadly in the United States. In 2005, 48 fishermen died, up from 38 the year before, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That made it the nation's most dangerous occupation for the year, with a fatality rate of 118.4 per 100,000 -- nearly 30 times higher than the rate of the average worker. E-mail to a friend

All About Boating AccidentsAleutian IslandsAlaska

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