After deciding to suspend its search for five people feared dead after their 130-foot crabbing boat sank on New Year's Eve off the Alaska Peninsula, the U.S. Coast Guard has released the names of the crew members of the F/V Scandies Rose.
Rescuers found two survivors in a life boat within hours of the distress call. But on Wednesday night, the Coast Guard decided to suspend the search for the rest of the seven-person crew.
The five missing are Gary Cobban, Jr. (Master), David Lee Cobban, Arthur Ganacias, Brock Rainey, and Seth Rousseau-Gano.
The two survivors are Dean Gribble, Jr. and John Lawler. They were treated for hypothermia at a hospital in Kodiak, but sustained no other serious injuries.
Coast Guard spokeswoman Melissa McKenzie said the Coast Guard exhausted all options before deciding to suspend its search for the five men still missing.
"Each search and rescue case is different," said McKenzie. "So you can't really say whether or not sufficient time has been spent, but we never suspend a search and rescue case unless we've exhausted all of our options."
The search spanned over 20 hours, 1,400 square miles, and included four MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews, two HC-130 Hercules airplane crews, and the Coast Guard Cutter Mellon.
"We did our best," said McKenzie. "We spent a significant amount of time out there. We sent several crews out there. The conditions were absolutely deplorable on scene. And unfortunately, we were not able to find the five missing fishermen."
Petty officer Evan Grills is the Coast Guard swimmer who rescued the two crew members wearing gumby survival suits from a life raft around 2 a.m. on New Year's Day. He said weather conditions were horrible: 40 mph winds, well-below-freezing temperatures, and high seas as they searched for the boat and crew.
"When we were down there, it was pretty wild," said Grills. "It was 20-30 foot seas, and tremendously cold, so the dexterity in my hands was starting to go. And just trying to battle keeping situational awareness between the helicopter, table management, keeping the survivor's face out of the water, and making sure we both didn't get tumbled in waves...it was definitely challenging."
McKenzie said the Coast Guard crew was unable to record what happened during the rescue mission, due to poor weather conditions.
"We don't have any imagery of the rescue," said McKenzie. "Because apparently the conditions were so horrific on scene, that we weren't even able to capture any footage of the actual hoist of the two survivors."
The Coast Guard has not determined the cause of the incident off the Alaska Peninsula, about 170 miles west of Kodiak Island.
No wreckage or debris had been found as of Thursday afternoon.