One of four crew members on a Seattle-based fishing boat died Tuesday when the 75-foot vessel sank in the Gulf of Alaska.
The three men and one woman were in the frigid water at least two hours before a Coast Guard helicopter rescued them, he said.
The crewman who died suffered a head trauma while exiting the boat, called the Northern Belle, and was already deceased when rescuers arrived, but it's not clear if he died from the injury or hypothermia, said Dr. Phil Hess at Cordova Community Medical Center in Cordova, Alaska.
The three who survived suffered hypothermia but were in stable condition late Tuesday because they wore protective gear, Hess said.
"It's cold. They were wearing survival suits, which gave the other three the chance they had and they're doing well," he said.
Hess declined to give details of the injured because family members had not been notified but said the deceased was a man.
'We're going down'
The crew sent a mayday radio call at about 5:30 p.m. that the boat was sinking about 50 miles south of Montague Island, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley. That's near the mouth of Prince William Sound.
"We are going down," one of the male crew members told a Coast Guard dispatcher, according to an audio recording of the distress call that accompanied a news release from the agency.
A Coast Guard plane dropped a life raft to the crew members before a helicopter from Air Station Kodiak arrived and pulled them from the water.
The operator of the boat, Robert Royer, was among the crew, Petty Officer Jeffrey Roberto from the Coast Guard's Juneau office told The Seattle Times.
Records show the fishing boat is owned by Triton Inc., Roberto said.