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Episode 171 [Full] Matt Thiessen USCG Rescue Swimmer 502 and Captain Ron Blake of the Fishing Vessel Hunter

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Episode Description

In this episode of The Real ResQ, host Jason Quinn is joined by Matt Theissen, U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer 502, and one of Theissen’s survivors, Captain Ron Blake. In this episode, we get the in depth story from both perspectives of this incredible rescue, a rescue that earned Thiessen an Air Medal and changed Blake’s life, forever.

Thiessen’s Air Medal:

“The crew launched from Air Station Kodiak in response to a distress signal emanating from a life raft with four survivors from the Fishing Vessel (F/V) Hunter. The vessel iced over, capsized and sank forcing the crew to abandon ship. With gusty 50-knot winds, churning seas and near-zero visibility due to billowing ice fog, Petty Officer Thiessen willingly deployed using a degraded hoist to the survivors below. Rapidly assessing the survivors, he towed the most critical from the raft through the icy water and breaking waves to the rescue basket. With his mask rendered useless by the freezing spray, he was forced to discard it, leaving his face exposed to the harsh elements. During the hour-long rescue, his eyes repeatedly froze shut, requiring him to continuously submerge his face in the arctic water to maintain his vision. At one point, he displayed tremendous physical prowess that demanded several minutes of maximum effort swimming to catch the swiftly drifting raft. Recovering the second survivor proved treacherous as the helicopter cabin had become encrusted with ice.” Enjoy!

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