Coast Guard helicopter crew braves vicious storm to rescue ‘Deadliest Catch’ fisherman

Tuesday’s was extremely intense as the US Coast Guard battled a vicious storm in order to rescue a severely injured fisherman. A rogue wave caused Patricia Lee deckhand Francis Katangan to be crushed by 2,000 pounds of steel crab pots. He suffered blunt force trauma to his pelvis and possible life-threatening injury to the iliac artery.

While battling Bering Sea storm winds over 30 knots, a Coast Guard helicopter crew attempted to land a diver on the deck of the rolling ship. The first attempt to lower a diver was unsuccessful and the pilot wrestled with how best to proceed in such brutal conditions.

“Ultimately, if the guy dies and we can’t do it, we did our best” the helicopter pilot can be heard saying. “And I’d rather have one dead guy than six dead guys.”

The intensity of the moment was not lost on viewers especially when the helicopter crew warned the ship’s captain of how airmen were onboard before attempting one last rescue.

“If we have to abort, we’re going to go straight forward, we have zero five people on the helicopter,” the pilot told the ship’s captain, Rip Carlton.

The radio conversation between Patricia Lee’s captain and the helicopter pilot could be heard by other boats in the vicinity, and it sent chills amongst the fleet.

“Can you hear that?” Captain Casey McManus said from abroad the Cornelia Marie. “That’s scary. He’s doing that so if that chopper goes down, Rip knows how many guys he’s looking for. It kind of makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.”

With less than 10 minutes of fuel remaining for the extract, a diver repelled down to the rolling ship. He quickly secured the injured fisherman to the basket and guided him as he was hoisted to safety in the helicopter.

In a scene like something out of a superhero movie, the diver exited the boat with less than three minutes of fuel to spare.The rescue amazed viewers and was a great example of how brave the men and women of the US Coast Guard really are.

“That was probably the most challenging hoist we’ve ever done,” the pilot said.

Deadliest Catch airs Tuesdays at 8 pm on Discovery and is streaming on Discovery+.

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