Crew of capsized fishing boat can thank Infinite Grace for their rescue

Devin Kelly

A 45-foot fishing boat carrying several hundred pounds of salmon flipped over and capsized near Valdez on Friday, Coast Guard officials said.

None of the four adult crew members on board were injured in the incident, which was reported about 6:15 p.m. on Friday, according to a Coast Guard statement issued Saturday. The Homer-based fishing boat Elohim was passing through Port Valdez when it flipped over, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Allie Ferko.

The cause is under investigation, Ferko said.

The four crew members were in the cabin of the fishing boat when it started to roll, Ferko said. Two managed to climb out the window of the cabin, and the other two escaped out the back door of the cabin, she said.

"And they actually climbed, as it was rolling, onto the bottom of the boat," Ferko said.

None of the crew ended up in the water: "They were thinking pretty fast," Ferko said. She said the water where the boat capsized was about 600 feet deep.

Another fishing boat, the Infinite Grace, picked up the crew members from the overturned hull and took them to the Valdez small boat harbor, Ferko said. The Elohim, meanwhile, was towed to a mooring buoy in Port Valdez to be salvaged.

No pollution was reported, though the Elohim's owner deployed a boom around the boat as a precaution, the Coast Guard statement said. The boat had a fuel capacity of about 900 gallons and was carrying about 500 pounds of salmon, according to the statement.

Ferko said hatches to the fish hold were open when the boat capsized, and authorities are assuming the catch is lost.

The Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit was coordinating with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and other state and federal agencies to oversee the salvaging of the boat.

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