Captain may have been last to leave sinking fishing vessel

<I>Associated Press</I><BR>Crew members of the Alaska Ranger arrive in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, today. The Ranger sank Sunday about 120 miles off Dutch Harbor.

JUNEAU - Isolation and focus on a rescue effort have left the rest of the world wondering how a ship's captain and three crew members died in a sinking Alaska fishing vessel in the Bering Sea.

But secondhand accounts may provide some insight into Eric Peter Jacobsen, among the four who died of hypothermia Sunday, and how putting crew from the Alaska Ranger first may have saved 42 lives.

That's how Alaska Wildlife Trooper Sgt. Greg Garcia says it may have happened, based upon troopers' interviews with members of the ship's sister vessel, the Alaska Warrior, which assisted in the rescue efforts.

"I don't know if there wasn't enough room in the rafts or not for them, but it sounds to me that the hierarchy wanted to assure everybody else is saved," he said.

"It appears they were in the water for about six hours, and as you may know the Bering Sea is phenomenally cold," Garcia said.

When the ship sank, waves up to 20 feet and winds of nearly 30 mph were reported, Lane said, revising earlier estimates of 8-foot waves.

Problems began early Sunday when the ship's rudder room began taking on water. A distress call went out just before 3 a.m.

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