The Cook Inlet winter king salmon fishery was not great this past weekend.

But the charter boat carrying Peder Reiland and his friends still made an impressive catch on Saturday — and brought home a unique Alaskan story that needs no embellishment.

FV Misty’s quick response to an emergency call may have been the difference between life and death for Jaime Snedden, who was eventually landed in the town of Anchor Point, 100 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula.

Passengers on the 30ft fishing boat fired a hypothermic Snedden about 300m offshore, after spending half an hour in 38-degree Cook Inlet water, authorities said later.

Snedden, 45, was clinging to a chunk of ice about 5 square feet, after state troopers said the shore ice he was walking on broke off and drifted into the inlet .

Snedden was wearing jeans and a windbreaker — and no life jacket, said Reiland, who was out for a day of fishing on the Misty.

“We assumed we were picking up a body because you don’t pull live people out of the water – especially not in the winter, and especially not that far,” said Reiland, who regularly fishes in the inlet, during the interview. a telephone interview. Monday. “It feels like 10 or 15 more minutes and he probably wouldn’t have come back.”

The soldiers praised the efforts of Captain Shane Blakely and the fishermen on board, saying in a statement on Monday that without them the rescue would have been “much more difficult”.

When the Misty arrived, Private Jeremiah Baum was “paddling furiously” towards Snedden in a packraft, but it likely would have been difficult for him to get Snedden into the inflatable or bring him ashore, Reiland said.

“I would have had my hands full,” Baum said in a brief interview Monday night.

Accounts of Snedden’s rescue suggest that his time in the water was hard on him and his loved ones.

“I need someone with a boat to come to the beach (Anchor Point) now please – my boyfriend is stuck on an iceberg and is going out with the tide. I called 911 – they take forever to get here,” said a Saturday morning post, a woman posted on a Facebook forum centered in the nearby town of Homer.

It’s still unclear exactly how Snedden ended up swinging so far into the inlet; he could not be reached for comment and the woman’s Facebook account did not respond to an interview request.

Baum said Snedden and his girlfriend were walking along the bank of the Anchor River, which empties into Cook Inlet. They were collecting coal, which some residents of the Kenai Peninsula use as a source of heating, when a chunk of ice that Snedden was apparently standing on broke off.

The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter, but it was coming from a base in Kodiak, over 100 miles away. Authorities also issued an “urgent maritime information broadcast”, according to the soldiers.

The Misty, which started its day at Homer, was about 4 miles away, and it took Blakely, the captain, eight minutes to get to Snedden at “full throttle”, Reiland said.

The boat was carrying Blakely, a deckhand, Reiland and four of his friends – including, coincidentally, a medical assistant and a respiratory therapist.

Snedden, when they arrived, had somehow taken off his shoes; they were floating next to him in the water, Reiland said. Snedden was conscious but did not seem to notice the 30ft fishing boat bearing down on him.

“He’s not on a good track, but he was stammering words,” Reiland said. Once on board, Reiland added, Snedden “was full of jerks and chatter – but he was also conscious.”

Reiland stood aside in the Misty’s cabin as Snedden was pulled aboard and inside.

After changing into dry clothes, Snedden was loaded onto a raft with Baum, the soldier, who carried him ashore to emergency responders. They took Snedden to Homer Hospital where he was treated for hypothermia “and is expected to make a full recovery”, the soldiers said.

Once Snedden was unloaded, Reiland and her friends on the Misty returned to fishing. After losing a king salmon in the morning, they landed a 13-pounder in the afternoon.

Reiland said the ship and its captain have already received a number of messages of appreciation on social media.

But, he added: “I hope the Coasties or someone will give him a plate or a six-pack of beers.”

DNA reporter Alena Naiden contributed reporting.