The unsinkable Sarah Radmore Part 2, in her own words.

This is a statement regarding the sinking of the F/V Heritage on Jan. 25, 2012.
When ice began to form extensively the crew went outside to break it and I went to bed. Apparently they were out there for about 3 hours and it began to form faster than they could break it. At this point I heard commotion and woke up and one of the crew came in and told me to put my survival suit on (he gave me one of the boats but I donned my NMFs issued immersion suit). The crew had found that the engine room was full with water and as we were donning immersion suits the generator, steering and all power went out. Four of the crew went up to launch the life raft which was located on top of the wheelhouse. They had to break ice to free the raft. As this was going on the captain, a crew member and I were in the wheelhouse and the captain made the May Day call. The Tuxedni (tender) responded that they were untying and on their way and would be there in 1-2 hours. I heard the captain say we were listed 20 degrees to the port side at this point, the engine room was filled with water and the house was beginning to fill. We all turned on our strobe lights and I saw a crew member with a PLB and he turned it on. I had my PLB tightened around my wrist but had decided not to turn it on, figured I would do it when I got into the life raft. Jonny came back into the wheelhouse because his immersion suit was leaking through the feet but decided not to change it. The wheelhouse was now beginning to flood and we were abandoning ship. We were all outside, starboard side right at the entrance to the wheelhouse and we began to take waves over the starboard rail. The first knocked Jonny, Keith, and I back into the wheelhouse and Jonny was able to push us out. The next few knocked Jonny and I back in (just in the doorway) and were the waves that put the boat under. Apparently the five up near the life raft and were able to get in but Jonny and I came up on the other side of the boat, too far to get to the life raft. I had actually gotten tangled in the rigging on the way up but was able to break free. At this point Jonny and I were separated from everyone and each other (I didn’t see him again until he got in the helicopter). Jonny said that his strobe light had shut off and he couldn’t get it working again until he saw the helicopter. Once I surfaced I saw the life raft and just the rigging and a little bit of the stern but that was it, again I was too far to get to the life raft. I discovered my PLB had fallen off and I no longer had it. I found my whistle, inflated the pillow on my immersion suit, assumed the H.E.L.P position and held my strobe light up in hopes the crew in the life raft would see it. I was unsure if anyone had actually made it in the life raft at this point though. I continued to remember steps and tips for survival in the water and periodically would look around to see if I could still see the light to the life raft. At all times I could. The USCG helicopter arrived and came to me first. They deployed a rescue swimmer who had a life sling (to windy for the basket). The first try the sling wasn’t entirely over the pillow (still inflated) and the sling caught the back of my head so I leaned forward out of the sling but the second try was successful and I was lifted into the helicopter. They found Jonny next and rescued him also using a life sling. Once in the helicopter for a few minutes we received word that the other five were in the life raft and rescued by the Tuxedni, we returned to base. At one point the CG people told Jonny and I to buckle up because of turbulence but once we were on the ground they informed us that the main engine had been cavitating.
-Sarah Radmore (edited for typo’s by Ben Moll)

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About newenglandwaterman

1600 Master Near Coastal, Master of Towing Vessels, and a whole binder full of other pieces of paper. You can find me at the controls, hooked up and hard over, when I'm not at home playing with the dogs
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8 Responses to The unsinkable Sarah Radmore Part 2, in her own words.

  1. Bryan Hammond says:

    That’s one hell of a lucky roller coaster ride! Glad to hear that everything we train for works.

  2. Aline Spear says:

    I’m sure all of us here at MMA are glad your safe!

  3. Nathan Pablo says:

    glad you made it back safely Sarah

  4. Melissa Griffin says:

    I am so happy you made it!! Thank you for sharing your story. When I read it, I am amazed at just how close to the edge you were but it was obviously NOT your time. For that I am forever thankful!!

  5. Matt Garand says:

    Holy $h!7!

    Was glad to hear you were safe, what an amazing story. Thanks for letting Ben post it.

  6. Hugh Porter says:

    Sarah,
    You’d better not do this again or else!!! Thanks for working for us. Look, you’d better not scare us like this again, okay!!!???
    God Bless (obviously),
    Hugh

  7. Bev Davis says:

    Sarah, I am so proud of you. Your grandpa has kept me informed – my daughter lives in Seattle and 20 years ago spent 2 winters on Japanese fishing boats. Read over your experience several times and you were so focused and smart enough to do exactly the right thing. Bet it seems good to be home with your folks. You are a remarkable young lady and again I am so impressed. Bob said you were going back too and again just amazing. A remarkable young lady. I met your dad at Radio Equipment in 1953 and even attended their wedding in Toronto. Bob is so special and so was Glenna. Great friends.

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