Fishing boat sinks, crew spends two hours in water

Posted: Sunday, July 02, 2000

KODIAK (AP) -- Crewman Ben Schulman managed to pull on his survival suit before the 32-foot F/V Jeanne Marie sank, but Capt. Russell Lowman went over the side holding his suit.

The two fishermen spent two hours in the water after their sockeye-loaded vessel sank Thursday night in Nushagak Bay.

The Jeanne Marie was carrying 13,000 to 14,000 pounds of reds when the two ran into trouble. Schulman and Lowman were pulling in their last set when choppy seas washing over the stern overcame their pump, said Lt. Agnita Dahl of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment in Anchorage.

''Because they were loaded, the one and a half Jabsco bilge pump couldn't keep up and they started to sink,'' said Coast Guard Lt. Joe Lally.

Schulman pulled on his survival suit before he went into the water. Lowman needed some help.

''Lowman was able to stand on the windshield and (Schulman) helped him get into his survival suit,'' Lally said. Winds were 10 to 15 knots when the boat sank around 8:20 Thursday night.

Lowman and Schulman were in 30-to-40 feet of water 10 to 15 miles south of Ekuk for two hours before the crab boat Nor Quest arrived, after responding to a Coast Guard Marine Assistance Radio Broadcast. The Coast Guard did not realize the boat was sinking.

The call they received, which had been relayed through a boat, a processor and the Dillingham police station indicated that the Jeanne Marie was on a sandbar and not in immediate danger, Dahl said.

''When the Nor Quest got there, one was hanging onto the lifeline and the other was hanging onto a buoy,'' Coast Guard Lt. Mike Patterson said.

Lowman and Schulman were rescued. Neither of them needed medical attention.

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