90 minutes in icy water

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JUNE 11 — An 18-year-old Canadian crab fisherman who jumped off a burning boat wearing only a T-shirt and shorts survived for more than 90 minutes in near-freezing North Atlantic waters.

The other five crewmembers, who were wearing survival suits, huddled around the teen until search-and-rescue personnel found them, tethered to a fishing buoy about 80 miles northeast of St. John’s, news reports say. The fire broke out aboard the 62-foot Nautical Legacy as it headed to port May 30 with a load of crab. As the fire spread, the 18-year-old was left without a survival suit.

“We didn’t want to jump in the water because the skipper and the crew knew that the longer he was in the water, the chances of survival wouldn’t be [good],” a crewmember says in a news report. “[He] is a brave young fella, because we were trying to decide when to go. But he sort of made the decision for us. He just [tied the buoy on] and he jumped, so then the rest of us jumped, too.”

A private aircraft arrived on scene first and relayed information to the search-and-rescue crew, according to reports.

Michael Hauenstein