PTR Senior Staff Writer
The sound of people drowning is something I cannot describe to you. No one can. It is an absolutely dreadful sound, and it is followed by a terrible silence." - Eva Hart, Titanic Survivor
This quote is something I cannot get out of my head today.
It has stuck with me since I first heard it years ago, watching a documentary on the Titanic tragedy. And every time I hear of death at sea - particularly tragedies in which there are survivors - I think of it again.
I also cannot quite get rid of the lump that seems permanently lodged in my throat after watching last night's episode of Deadliest Catch.
In truth, this was not an episode.
It was an experience.
A poignant, timeless, chilling, gripping, touching and memorable tribute to the F/V Katmai, who succumbed to the raging Bering Sea last October in the midst of a Typhoon that engulfed almost the entire fishing ground.
Four Katmai crewmen survived.
Seven did not.
As we listened to the survivors recount their tale of survival, it seems impossible they did survive. Their life raft flipped nearly 50 times as they rode out the night, thrashing about in 40-foot seas, 80-knot winds, and existing 17 hours in 40 degree waters that create instantly hypothermic conditions without a survival suit.
And pushes the envelope of being able to survive in one.
Perhaps most touching, though, was not only the haunting video footage the crew shot of themselves some time before they left port, joking that the job they do could cost them their lives, but the subsequent reflection of the surviving Katmai crew in asking the proverbial question: Why them and not me? Or, why me and not them?
It's a question every survivor of every tragedy asks him or herself.
And for which seems no easy answer.
It's the guilt of surviving.
We already know this is one of the deadliest jobs on earth.
We just don't often get to experience the loss of life alongside these guys.
Last night, we did.
And I, for one, will never forget it.
In loving memory of the F/V Katmai and crew members: Carlos Zabala, Robert Davis, Cedric Smith, Glenn Harper, Jake Gilman, Joshua Leonguerrero and Fuli Lemusu
New episodes of Deadliest Catch air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Discovery Channel. Visit the official Deadliest Catch Web site for the latest on the captains and crews of the Northwestern, Cornelia Marie, Time Bandit, Wizard, Early Dawn and North American and the new boat, Lisa Marie.