"Deadliest Catch," Discovery Channel's crab fishing reality show now in its tenth season, has given viewers a glimpse into a world that can make you rich ... or put you in great peril.
On Tuesday's episode, the frigid waters of the Bering Sea proved yet again why the fishing grounds off of Alaska are one of the most dangerous places to work in the world. A 102-foot crab fishing vessel, Arctic Hunter, was leaving on a fishing trip when it ran aground on rocks in the waters off of Unalaska, Alaska. In the early morning hours of November 1st, 2013, the US Coast Guard was notified of the incident and sent out a call for assistance to any nearby vessels.
Luckily for the crew of the Arctic Hunter, Captain Elliott Neese (of the fishing boat, Saga) was nearby and able to render assistance. As Captain Neese and his vessel arrived on scene, the Arctic Hunter was taking on water quickly and most of its six-man crew was preparing to abandon the vessel by escaping into one of its emergency life rafts.
This rescue was orchestrated by Elliott Neese ... and it's a moment of heroism that fans of the show might not have seen coming. Since Neese often takes to Twitter and other social media and bashes some fans, he's been cast in the role of 'villain' by many -- and some people who are feeling less kind just call the youngest captain in the fleet a "jerk."
However, after his heroics tonight, his Twitter, which is usually full of nasty back-and-forth messages with viewers, was full of really positive notes.
One person even went so far as to say, "Amazing rescue by yourself and your crew. Loving some Elliot this season. Misjudged you."
By skillfully navigating the Saga over the very shoals that wrecked the Arctic Hunter and brushing the rocky bottom along the way, Captain Neese and his crew were able to get a line to the bobbing life raft - Captain Neese sent his own father, Mike Neese, into the cold water to deliver it - before the raft drifted perilously close to the dangerous rocks and waves along the shore.
All crew members aboard the Arctic Hunter were pulled out of the water and returned to the safety of Dutch Harbor without serious injury. If the Saga wasn't there, the six men would have been stuck on the rocks -- and the worst could have happened.
Sadly, other rescues featured on past seasons of "Deadliest Catch" have not turned out as well as the story of the Arctic Hunter. In 2005, a boat featured in the first season, Big Valley, sank in the Bering Sea. Only one of its six crew members survived.
In 2007, a larger factory ship, Alaska Ranger, sank near Dutch Harbor taking five of its 57 crew, including its captain.