'Deadliest Catch' crab boat Time Bandit rescues crew from sinking boat off Alaska coast
When it's not battling wild autumn and winter weather fishing for crab on Alaska's Bering Sea, the fleet of boats featured on Discovery's reality hit "Deadliest Catch," which recently ended its ninth season, keeps busy with other fisheries.
The F/V Time Bandit -- captained for crab by owners and brothers Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand -- is currently seeking salmon off the Panhandle of Alaska in the southeast of the state.
According to a report from the news division of Juneau public-radio station KTOO, the Time Bandit was near Dall Island, on the outer coast of the southern end of Prince Edward Island, at about 4:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday, Aug. 14.
At about the same time, the Coral Sea, a 56-foot seiner -- a fishing boat that deploys nets -- ran aground.
The Time Bandit responded to the distress call, reaching the Coral Sea, which was partially underwater. The skipper and four crew members had gotten into a life raft, from which they were picked up by the Time Bandit.
Although the Hillstrand brothers weren't on board for salmon season, one of the boat's regular crab crew was. Congrats went out from Johnathan's official Twitter account @captjohnathan, saying, "(Sheryl here) Many kudos to Eddie Uwekoolani and the crew of the @FVTimeBandit for rescue!"
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Sadly, "Deadliest Catch" reflects the very real dangers of fishing in Alaska, as the show has chronicled.
In early 2005, the 92-foot F/V Big Valley, which was featured in the first season of "Deadliest Catch," sank, with 30-year-old Cache Seel as the only survivor of the six-man crew. He was interviewed in the two-hour "Deadliest Catch: Best of Season 1" recap special.
On March 23, 2008, not far from Dutch Harbor, the home port of the Bering Sea fleet, the 184-foot factory trawler Alaska Ranger went down. Despite the Coast Guard's daring and dramatic rescue effort, five of her 47 crew members perished, including Capt. Eric Peter Jacobsen.
Discovery later recalled the rescue and Capt. Jacobsen in a documentary called "Mayday! Bering Sea," which aired in March 2010.
This also isn't the first the Time Bandit has been involved in a rescue. In the fourth episode of season three, called "Cheating Death," Johnathan Hillstrand was ecstatic when his crew were able to rescue deckhand Josh White, whose 31st birthday in November of 2006 was almost his last when he fell into the icy waters from another crab vessel.
Part of Hillstrand's joy came from a painful experience 10 years before, when an otherwise successful rescue resulted in the death of one of the deckhands in the frigid sea. If you want to see one happy crabber, watch below.