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Coming Back Alive: The...
Spike Walker
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Coming Back Alive: The True Story of the Most Harrowing Search and Rescue Mission Ever Attempted on Alaska's High Seas

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  247 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
When the fishing vessel La Conte sinks suddenly at night in one-hundred-mile-per-hour winds and record ninety-foot seas during a savage storm in January 1998, her five crewmen are left to drift without a life raft in the freezing Alaskan waters and survive as best they can.

One hundred fifty miles away, in Sitka, Alaska, an H-60 Jayhawk helicopter lifts off from America's m
ebook, 320 pages
Published October 11th 2002 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2001)
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Nov 15, 2008 Eric_W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*** Contains multiple spoilers. ** Walker celebrates the Coast Guard SAR (Search and Rescue — not to be confused with SARS) teams that operate in Alaska's forbidding winters. These people risk their lives to save those who have usually made some really dumb decisions. Flying at any time in Alaska is difficult because of the terrain and sudden weather changes, but virtually no one flies at night. SAR teams are often called out at night and usually in the worst weather. Sensory deprivation is comm ...more
May 23, 2015 Cropredy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll start by saying this is better than 'A Perfect Storm'. Think of this book as 'Into (very) Cold Water' or 'Into Gale Force Winds' or both.

The author does a good job of grabbing you with a rescue mission in the first chapter, then, lays the background of the Coast Guard's air-sea rescue units. Equal attention is paid to the fishing culture of Alaska. Before you are too lulled by the scene setting, Walker throws in another harrowing rescue mission before concluding the first half of the book.
Jul 05, 2015 SP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, disaster
One major survival story, wrapped up with a couple of smaller ones. It begins with an old Coast Guard saying: "You have to go out, but you don't necessarily have to come back." Think of it as basically being about what happens when Deadliest Catch goes really, really wrong. And when things go badly, the Coast Guard is there. Well written, and with some interesting vignettes about life along the coast of southeastern Alaska.
Judy Churchill
Apr 07, 2015 Judy Churchill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Horrifying and beyond imagination. I couldn't put this real life Alaska ocean rescue story down. Being a pilot, I understood viscerally that the conditions were way below flying weather. I found myself tense along with the pilots trying to make the rescue. There is no doubt that we have heroes among us - those who go beyond all reasonable expectations to save another human being. This was well written and extremely well researched which undoubtedly led to its complete credibility. It's non-ficti ...more
Val Wilkerson
Nov 23, 2014 Val Wilkerson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books-read
Wow...this is the true story about a search and rescue in Alaska by the Coast Guard out of Sitka Alaska. I have lived in Juneau alaska and spent several months in Sitka so I know what the weather can be like. This Coast Guard Rescue story had my heart beating for sure. These guys are right up there with navy seals in my book. I was also pleased at the end of the book to see my dear friends in Juneau, Roger and Betty Stidolph mentioned.
Jun 04, 2012 Shruts rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a harrowing story of a death-defying rescue by the Coast Guard of a fishing boat crew who deliberately took excessive risks against Nature, and lost the bet. They had absolutely no business being there in that place at that time in their substandard boat.

The Coast Guard crews, 13 men and three helicopters, put their lives at risk to go for these foolish fishermen, and almost made their own wives into widows, and children orphans.
Nov 16, 2008 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read. Jaw-dropping accounts of emergency rescues in Southeast Alaska. Especially relevant for me since I visited nearly every location mentioned in the book, by boat during this summer (2008).

My dad picked this book as part of our ongoing father/son book club while we were up in Alaska together and it was a page-turner. Highly recommended for anyone who has spent time in Alaska or who is at all fascinated by the last great frontier.
Sean Hopkins
Mar 12, 2010 Sean Hopkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure-rescue
Enjoyable story of the rescue of the La Conte by the Coast Guard during a fierce Alaska storm in January of 1998. The numerous Coast Guard members involved in the dangerous rescue mission demonsrated a complete willingness to risk their lives to rescue the crew as the floated in freezing waters with 100 foot waver and 100 mph winds.
Feb 12, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off - you need to know that this is actually two books in one. He doesn't actually get to the real story until book two halfway through the book. I almost gave up on it at page 50. I am so glad I didn't. I have never read a book that I was on the edge of my seat like I was with this one. Overall, it was an intense book. It was good.
Martha Randall
Definitely a good read!
Darren Rippy
Nov 17, 2015 Darren Rippy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military, memoir
A tale of selfless heroism. The Coast Guard are the unsung, everyday heroes of the military.
Andi Caissie
Not the best book I've read in this genre. It does paint a vivid image of the bravery of the Coast Guard members who risk their lives to help the citizen of Alaska.
Katie O'Farrell
it was a really good book . It taught me that you never really know how strong you are until you need all your strength .
Heart breaking and staggering in the vastness of the struggles that these brave men and women face every day of their lives.
Rita Jean
Jan 23, 2012 Rita Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True stories of people at sea.
Another great book by Spike. Great escapes from peril on the open sea.
Chris Seals
Aug 04, 2011 Chris Seals rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book because I enjoyed Spike Walker's "Working on the Edge" so much. I wasn't disappointed with the writing here either.
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