When word of the Alaska Ranger’s distress call popped up on my BlackBerry yesterday, my thoughts immediately turned to the unforgiving, frigid waters off the coast of the Aleutian Islands, where the boat was taking on water. I’m a huge fan of “Deadliest Catch”, the reality show that follows crab fisherman in that same area. Last year, I learned a lot about the intense danger of the waters these men and women work in, including the importance of their survival suits. Without one, Coast Guard officials tell us your survival time is less than 30 minutes.
Even with that suit, these waters are more than just cold. The Alaska Ranger was in 10 foot seas early Sunday with winds of 30 to 35 miles per hour when it began taking on water. Sea temperatures were 29 degrees while the air temps were in the mid-30s. More than a dozen crew members were trying to stay alive in the water, with only those survival suits and strobe lights to save them; they were without a life raft. They were eventually plucked from the ocean, along a mile stretch.
This afternoon as I write this, one crew member is missing, four are dead, 42 survived. The story, which you can see here, is heartbreaking and eye-opening.
As many Americans focus on rising gas prices, dropping home sales and what we’re giving up as recession looms, the situation in Egypt reminds me how lucky we are, even in the midst of this downturn. A bread shortage there has left seven people dead and has the government scrambling to fix this situation.
In Egypt, the demand for subsidized bread – which sells for less than a penny a loaf - is climbing as fewer people can afford unsubsidized bread. Flour and other ingredients are getting more expensive, as is the end product. Lines for the government loaves can stretch on for hours, and have also led to violence. Police say two people have been stabbed in line, and others have died of exhaustion and medical complications from waiting in the spring heat. See the story here.
It’s the outcome no one expected, but everyone wanted. Doctors told Zach Dunlap’s family he was gone. His father looked at the brain scans for his 21 year old son, and saw nothing – no blood flow, no activity; his son was brain dead. As his parents prepared to say goodbye, doctors were getting ready to harvest the young man’s organs, in hopes of saving another life. The, the miraculous happened: Zach moved. Today, 48 days after hearing doctors declare him brain dead, Zach is out of the hospital and says he’s feeling “pretty good”.
It’s a story that leaves me feeling that way, too. Check it out for yourself.
–Erica Hill, 360 Correspondent
Filed under: Erica Hill
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