, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

October 29, 2011

What really happened to the Andrea Gail?

In the absence of survivors, eyewitnesses or wreckage, no one can say with certainty what happened during the final hours aboard the Andrea Gail, other than she disappeared into the cold waters east of Nova Scotia.

But this week, upon the 20th anniversary of the vessel's loss and the so-called Perfect Storm, speculation continues to swirl:

How did the Andrea Gail meet her fate? Did it happen just as portrayed in the movie, when she flipped over trying to conquer an enormous wave? Did anything other than fierce weather contribute to her demise?

Many experts agree that a 72-foot fishing vessel like the Andrea Gail would have little chance surviving the convergence of multiple weather systems now referred to as The Perfect Storm, which included hurricane force winds and wave heights of more than 60 feet.

According to the 1993 U.S. Coast Guard's investigative report, the last communication with the Andrea Gail was on Oct. 28 with another fishing vessel, the Hannah Boden. The report, however, does not reflect the time of the communication.

The Andrea Gail was approximately 150 miles east of Sable Island, presumably heading home to Gloucester — but possibly headed inland for shelter or fuel. It is unknown when or how the fishing vessel lost her radio, or how far she traveled after the radio failed.

"My last conversation with Billy was typical of any that I would have with a vessel 600 miles west of me," said Linda Greenlaw, former captain of the Hannah Boden. "I wanted a weather report, and Billy wanted a fishing report. I recall him saying, 'The weather sucks. You probably won't be fishing tomorrow night.'"

In contrast with the storyline in "The Perfect Storm" movie, Greenlaw says she did not place a distress call on behalf of the Andrea Gail.

"Without a distress call (directly) from the imperiled vessel, the Coast Guard will not initiate a search until the vessel is five days overdue in port," Greenlaw said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape