(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) — The search for five crew members of a sunken fishing vessel in Alaska has been suspended, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The decision came after the service said it had exhausted all leads and considered the chances for survival.
Two other crew members of the Scandies Rose were rescued after the 130-foot crab fishing vessel from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, sank New Year’s Eve, the Coast Guard said. The ship’s last known position was 170 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of Kodiak Island.
“The decision to suspend an active search and rescue case is never easy, and it’s only made after careful consideration of a myriad of factors,” Coast Guard Rear Adm. Matthew Bell said in a statement late Wednesday evening. “Our deepest condolences to the friends and families impacted by this tragedy.”
The Scandies Rose was carrying a load of crabbing pots for the start of the winter season, Dan Mattsen, a partner in the boat that is managed by Seattle-Based Mattsen Management, told the Seattle Times.
The Coast Guard said the search for the five crew members lasted 20 hours and included four Jayhawk helicopters, two airplanes and a Coast Guard cutter.
The Scandies Rose sank at approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday with seven crew members aboard, the Coast Guard said. It received a mayday distress call and immediately commenced a rescue operation. Rescue crews battled headwinds up to 60 mph and nearly no visibility when they arrived on scene about 2 a.m. Wednesday.
A faint light was seen in one life raft, but a medic lowered from a helicopter found it empty, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Another faint light was found about a half-mile away, where searchers found the two male survivors, ages 38 and 34, hypothermic but otherwise in good spirits.
The men told rescuers they were the only two who made it into life raft. While they were able to get into survivals suits, they didn’t know if the other five were able to do so, the newspaper reported.