8 Severe Fishing Accidents in the World

8. The Peck Brothers

The Peck Brothers On May 22, 2019, brothers Quinton and Nathan Peck decided to go fishing on their 16-foot-long inflatable boat in New South Wales, Australia. It was a day like any other, enjoying their time out on the water.

There was no warning to what would happen next. They were traveling at about 25 miles per hour, when out of nowhere, a huge marlin jumped out of the water, over their boat, and directly slammed into the two brothers.

Nathan Peck instinctively put his arm up to try to protect his face, and in doing so, the marlin’s spear-like snout pierced through his tricep and shoulder blade. Simultaneously, the marlin’s jaw made contact with Quinton Peck’s arm, which broke his bone while ripping out his tendons.

The marlin weighed between 175 and 220 pounds! The force of the impact was so hard that they struggled to regain their breath for minutes. The incident happened about 12 miles offshore.

Luckily the brothers were out fishing with their best friend. Their friend was thankfully uninjured and was able to call for emergency services to await their arrival as he rushed the brothers to shore.

Ambulances and a rescue helicopter were on standby to take them to the hospital, where they were treated for their injuries.

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7. Muhammad Idul

Severe Fishing Accidents, 8 Severe Fishing Accidents in the World
Image by metro.co.uk

Most people will likely never experience getting stabbed in the neck by a needlefish, but 16-year-old Muhammad Idul from Indonesia was in the wrong place at the wrong time in January of 2020. He and a friend went out for a quick nighttime fishing trip.

When a needlefish, around 3 feet long, suddenly jumped from the water and pierced Muhammad directly under his chin, all the way through to the base of his skull. The impact caused Muhammad to fall into the water.

The needlefish was stuck in his neck and thrashed around in the water trying to free itself. His friend jumped into the water to help him get to shore as Muhammad grabbed onto the needlefish, trying to keep it from thrashing.

Upon arriving to his house, Muhammad’s father quickly took him to the hospital to have the fish removed. After five days in the hospital, Muhammad was able to go home and fully recovered from the ordeal.

6. The Scandies Rose

Severe Fishing Accidents, 8 Severe Fishing Accidents in the World
Image by nytimes.com

Fishing Boat The Scandies Rose was a 130-foot commercial fishing boat that was mainly used for catching crabs. At around 10 p.m. on the night of December 31, 2019, a crew of seven men were fishing off the coast of Alaska when a transmission came through that they were in trouble.

The weather conditions were extreme. They were up against 30-foot-high waves, 40 mile per hour winds, and a temperature that was below freezing. It’s believed that these conditions, paired with inaccurate stability instructions that were meant to help prevent a boat from capsizing, caused the accident.

As the Coast Guard was on the way to help, the boat was already sinking. Only two of the seven men, Dean Gribble and Jon Lawler, survived. They jumped off the boat as it started sinking in a vertical position, straight up and down.

They tried yelling for their crew members to abandon ship as well, but they didn’t see anyone else jump off. Once in the water, they spotted a raft that they climbed up on and waited there for a few hours in the cold, harsh, dark conditions.

The Coast Guard finally arrived, and the two men were rescued by helicopter and taken to the hospital where they were treated for hypothermia. The search efforts for the other five crew members continued, but after less than 24 hours, they were presumed dead.

5. The Arctic Rose

On April 2, 2001, the Arctic Rose sank to the bottom of the Bering Sea around 400 miles off the coast of Alaska. It was a 93-foot-long fishing trawler used to catch many fish, but primarily the flathead sole fish, by using large nets.

That night around 3 a.m., the boat started flooding with water and began to capsize. They tried to get the boat to stay level, but there wasn’t enough time. To this day, nobody is sure what had happened that caused the boat to flood.

One theory is that the hull of the boat was damaged by fishing equipment in the stormy weather. Another theory stated that water started rushing in through an open hatch that wasn’t secured properly below deck.

To try to piece together what happened, investigators used a remote-controlled video camera to get footage of the wreckage, about 430 feet at the bottom of the ocean.

 But the unclear footage didn’t provide much. All 15 of the men on board tragically died in the accident. It is considered one of the worst fishing accidents in US history.

4. Todd Thesenvitz

In South Dakota, Todd Thesenvitz was fishing out on a lake in July of 2021. He felt something bite, and immediately started reeling in his catch. It was a northern pike, which can reach around 60 pounds. As he reeled it in, the fishing hook suddenly broke due to the fight the fish put up.

When this happened, Todd’s bottom bouncer, which is a type of fishing gear, flew back and lodged itself deeply into his chest—so deep, that it went through the sack that surrounds the heart/ and pierced the actual heart muscles in his left ventricle.

They called for help, and when they got to shore, help was already waiting for them. He was rushed to the hospital and needed to have emergency surgery. He needed to be put on life support during the operation but miraculously made a full recovery.

3. The Sudur Havid

The Sudur Havid was a South African deep sea fishing trawler that sunk in the Antarctic in the year 1998. On a morning in June, the crew of 38 men were facing severe weather conditions. Matt Lewis, author of Last Man Off: A True Story Of Disaster and Survival On The Antarctic Seas, was one of the men on board that day.

He described how the waves were so high and treacherous that they were casting shadows at 10 o’clock in the morning. He recounts how he struggled to remain upright as he held onto the railing of the ship. The waves came bursting through the hatches of the ship and soon it was filling with water.

The ship sank about 170 miles off the coast. The men rushed into life rafts, but not everyone made it. Many drowned in the commotion, died from hypothermia, or from the shock of the icy-cold water. The surviving men piled onto three life rafts.

On Lewis’s raft, there were 17 men, and by the time rescuers located them about four hours later, 10 of the men on his raft had died. Altogether, half of the men died in the incident.

Many years later, Lewis kept a promise he made to one of the rescuers who lifted him into the rescue vessel: that he would name his daughter “Camila,” after the name of the vessel that rescued him.

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2. Ross Chapman

In January of 2017, a New Zealander by the name of Ross Chapman was fishing alone about 30 miles off the coast of North West Cape, Australia. He was out fishing for marlins, and he did, in fact, catch one that was around 550 pounds! He tagged the fish.

And in the process of releasing back into the ocean, he accidentally bumped his GoPro camera that was mounted on the edge of the boat. He tried to catch the camera before it fell into the water, but in doing so, he fell in himself.

The problem here was that he had the boat in gear, and it kept on moving without him. He tried to swim as fast as he could, but just simply couldn’t keep up with it. He was left stranded in the middle of the ocean with no lifejacket and equipment.

At one point, another boat came across Chapman’s boat that was clearly moving and in-gear, but without a driver. That person reported the boat to the authorities, and everyone, including other boats who caught wind of the situation, dropped what they were doing to help assist in the search.

After about five hours of floating alone in the sea, the captain of a charter boat was the one to find Chapman. He was quickly taken to shore and to a hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia, severe sunburn, and shock.

1. The Atlantic Destiny

Severe Fishing Accidents, 8 Severe Fishing Accidents in the World
Image by ntv.ca

Off the coast of Nova Scotia, a 140-foot-long scallop vessel sent out distress signals once a fire ignited on board on March 2, 2021. It is believed that the fire began in the engine room, causing the ship to lose power.

Water began filling up the ship as the crew battled against rough waves of up to 26 feet high/ and winds of up to 62 miles per hour. There were even reports that the fire flared, causing a second fire to break out.

Rescue efforts by US and Canadian search and rescue teams coordinated the extraction of each person from the ship, one by one. Two helicopters were able to successfully rescue all 31 people on board over the course of about 12 hours.

Rescuers described the event as one of the most challenging rescue operations they had ever been a part of, due to the number of people that needed to be rescued and the harsh weather and winds that demanded extreme focus while handling the helicopters.

But the high spirits and energy of the crew as they were being rescued helped keep the situation positive! Would you rather be stranded out at sea for five hours with no knowledge of when you’ll be rescued, or have to pilot a rescue helicopter for 12 straight hours?


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