Wife says observer on sunken boat ‘traumatized’

  • In this image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, the crew of the commercial longline fishing vessel Princess Hawaii floats in a life raft after their vessel sank about 400 miles north of the Big Island on Sunday, March 25, 2018. Eight people, including the crew, captain and a federal fishery observer abandoned the ship and escaped in the raft. A Coast Guard air crew dropped a radio to the life raft and helped establish communication with the vessel's sister ship, the Commander, which was fishing nearby and came to rescue the survivors. (U.S. Coast Guard via AP)
  • In this image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, the commercial longline fishing vessel Princess Hawaii sinks about 400 miles north of the Big Island on Sunday, March 25, 2018. Eight people, including the crew, captain and a federal fishery observer abandoned the ship and escaped in a life raft. A Coast Guard air crew dropped a radio to the life raft and helped establish communication with the vessel's sister ship, the Commander, which was fishing nearby and came to rescue the survivors. (U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

HONOLULU — The wife of a federal observer who was aboard the fishing vessel that sank off the coast of Hawaii Island over the weekend said Wednesday that her husband, a humorous adventurer and outdoorsman, was shaken by the dramatic event.

Steve Dysart was mostly uninjured, though “he said he has some bruises, some bumps, that sort of thing,” Sherri Dysart said. “He said sometimes he’s quite traumatized, but he’s able to come in and out of that. He sounded shaky, but in good spirits and thankful for the other crew members, they all worked as a team.”

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Dysart, who lives in Shelton, Washington, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that she didn’t even know the vessel sank until two days later when she received a call from the contractor her husband works for.

“She called me to let me know that the boat had sunk and all aboard were OK,” Dysart said.

On Wednesday morning she spoke to her husband by satellite phone as he sat aboard another fishing vessel that is ferrying him and seven other rescued crewmembers to Oahu.

Sherri is also a bit shaken by the whole thing. “I think I realized that I’m kind of in shock a little bit … I’m kind of like crying for no apparent reason,” she said.

“He said ‘this morning I got up and I saw the sunrise and so I know I’m alive,’” Dysart said. “He said, ‘I feel like I’m proud of myself, I helped rescue people and they helped rescue me.’”

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The 61-foot Princess Hawaii was several hundred miles north of Hilo when the owner of the vessel, Loc Nguyen of Honolulu, says two rogue waves hit the boat and swamped it, sweeping five crewmembers into the ocean. Dysart, along with the captain and another crewmate were inside when the waves hit, Nguyen said, and were able to deploy the boat’s life raft and save the others.

The men spent about 12 hours in the raft before the U.S. Coast Guard was able to coordinate rescue with the Princess Hawaii’s sister ship, the Commander, which was fishing nearby.