Search Goes On for Missing Crew of Sunk Pollock Boat

Rescuers have recovered the bodies of 11 more crew members from a South Korean pollock boat that sank in the Bering Sea on Monday.

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The U.S. Coast Guard has been helpingRussian officials and good Samaritan fishing vessels look for survivors from the Oryong 501. The trawler was hit by a wave, and sank in Russian waters northwest of St. Matthew Island.

The Oryong 501. (via Korea Times)
The Oryong 501. (via Korea Times)

More than 40 crew members are still missing. Coast Guard petty officer Grant DeVuyst says rescuers have no plans to stop searching.

“We don’t know exactly how prepared the crew members who are still missing were when they went into the water, so that plays a huge role in how long someone would be able to survive,” he says. “So we’re going to continue searching, continue working with the Russians and the good Samaritans.”

Those vessels are from South Korea and Russia, and they’ve been on scene since shortly after the Oryong 501 went down. The weather has calmed down since then — seas were around 5 feet with visibility up to 5 miles on Wednesday.

DeVuyst says the Coast Guard hasn’t been able to spot much debris from the sunk vessel.

“So far, what our air assets have been able to locate are a couple black life rafts that were floating,” he says. “And that’s the only wreckage they’ve reported.”

He says the Coast Guard has sent the cutters Munro and Alex Haley, plus aircraft from Air Station Kodiak, to help as the search wears on.

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Annie Ropeik is a reporter for KUCB in Unalaska.