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Waves and wind almost sink troller west of Wrangell

A troller with two people on board almost sank about 30 miles west of Wrangell Wednesday night.

Coast Guard spokesman David Mosley says the Carrie Arlene’s crew donned survival suits after rough weather threatened the 36-foot troller. He says they expected they might have to abandon ship.

“There were 3- to 4-foot waves that were crashing into the boat and over the boat and causing it to take water. There wasn’t any report of damage to the hull itself. It was more the elements coming against the vessel there and causing it to start sinking,” he says.

They put out a distress call via VHF radio, and the Coast Guard responded with an urgent call to mariners.

A nearby ship, the 65-foot Arik, responded. It found the troller after its crew shot off flares and towed it to a protected cove. The Arik’s one-man crew helped restart the Carrie Arlene’s engine and electronics, so the water could be pumped out.

Mosely says the troller’s crew remained at the cove Wednesday night and resumed sailing today.

“It really should be noted that these fishermen were prepared. They had survival suits; they had the emergency flares to help rescuers find them in a pretty quick manner,” Mosely says. “And most importantly, they made that call for help. If we hadn’t gotten that call, if they weren’t prepared for this type of situation, we could be looking for two people in the water somewhere.”

The troller issued its distress call while in Snow Passage, between Zarembo and Bushy Islands, not far from northern Prince of Wales Island.

Mosely did not have the names of the crew on either ship.

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