A five-member deer hunting party out of Petersburg, Alaska, whose 34-foot cabin cruiser was damaged and sank in rough seas Dec. 19, are crediting their survival to boating experience, calm reactions and a prompt Coast Guard rescue.
The Coast Guard pulled two of them from the water - one with severe hypothermia - and three from a Whitney Island beach where they'd landed in an inflatable lifeboat. One of the five was trapped in the cabin by a wave as the boat rolled over.
Sitting helplessly in a small Zodiac life raft, Mara Cisney looked on in horror as her friend was slammed into the pilothouse of their doomed vessel by a massive wave.
The boat instantly tilted stern-first into the water, the pilothouse door submerging beneath the 40-degree water, trapping her friend Kevin Kivisto inside the sinking Sandy M.
She assumed he was gone.
Click here for another report with links to audio of the survivors describing their efforts to keep the boat afloat.