Point of Beginning

2 rescued after drifting 52 hours off Aleutians

July 7, 2009
The Associated Press: Whitehead and his 50-foot fishing boat, the Larisa M., had been hired by a Bureau of Land Management survey crew. For five years, he has escorted BLM survey crews to ancient island village sites where 25,000 Aleuts once lived.

The Associated Press: ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Rod Whitehead had doubts of seeing his five children again as he marked 52 hours adrift in an open skiff in the northern Pacific on Father's Day.

But that afternoon, as hypothermia and dehydration threatened, Whitehead and deckhand Bill Osterback spotted a basket and a swimmer breaking through the heavy Aleutians Islands fog as they were lowered from a Coast Guard helicopter.

"I don't know how much longer we could have made it in the skiff. We were just so cold," Whitehead, 50, said Monday from his home in Adak. "It was pretty much a miracle that they found us."

Whitehead and his 50-foot fishing boat, the Larisa M., had been hired by a Bureau of Land Management survey crew. For five years, he has escorted BLM survey crews to ancient island village sites where 25,000 Aleuts once lived.

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