Alaska Fisherman Jumps into Frigid Water to Save Crewmate

Posted: Jul 26, 2017 6:38 PM

An Alaskan fishing vessel captain saved the life of one of his crewman after their boat capsized Monday near Kodiak Island, attributing his bravery to God. 

The boat, called the Grayling, was fighting the waves in the Kupreanof Strait, where the crew fished for salmon near Raspberry Island. The ship began to pick up water and sink, and the crew sent out a distress call. The men of a nearby fishing boat, the Calista Marie, saw the stern sink and approached the Grayling, and the captain, Dale Pruitt, asked what was happening. 

The Grayling’s captain, Christian Trosvig, replied, “I can’t get the water out,” according to Pruitt. 

The Calista Marie began to tow the Grayling to safety with the four-man crew still on board. But close to shore, the Grayling capsized -- and all four men were thrown into the 5-foot frigid waves. 

Trosvig and another crewman climbed onto a lifeboat from their vessel, and the third made it to the Calista Marie. 

The fourth was nowhere in sight. 

The Calista Marie let go of the overturned boat, not wanting to harm the missing fisherman. 

After twenty minutes of scanning the water for their fellow crewmate, they saw him finally rise to the surface, bobbing in the waves. Without hesitation, Trosvig jumped off the lifeboat into the water, and with a lifejacket strapped on, reached the unresponsive man—swimming about 50 yards, according to Pruitt. 

The Coast Guard had received the call from the Calista Marie that the boat overturned and redirected a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter – at the time on a training flight – to the scene of the wreck. 

The pilot witnessed the brave rescue from above. “That fisherman didn’t hesitate,” Lt. Kevin Riley, Air Station Kodiak Jayhawk pilot said in a statement. “It was incredible to see him jump into 47-degree water to save his crew. It is a testament to how tough those fishermen are and how far they will go to help their fellow Alaskans.” 

Trosvig didn’t only face the danger of the choppy water, but also from equipment and the overturned boat around him as he held onto the limp fisherman. Riley said, "...he was swimming extremely fast considering he was in a life jacket." 

“Five foot swell, you had a seiner skiff bouncing around, you had a capsized boat with nets and rigging in the water floating around and as you can see in the video the individual that jumped in for the rescue was between the seiner skiff and the capsized hill at one point pretty close.” 

Helped onto a vessel, Trosvig performed CPR, reviving his crew mate before he was lifted to the Kodiak Municipal Airport to be treated by medics.

Trosvig, a 20-year veteran fisherman of the area, has suffered immense loss by the sea. In a Facebook post, he shared the video that captured the rescue. 

“After losing my twin brother to the sea. It was not going to happen again,” he wrote. “To God be the glory for giving the courage and strength to get my man out of the water and bring him back to life.” 

Pruitt also called Trosvig a hero, saying he saved his crewman's life.