Csonka reportedly rescued from Bering Sea

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Pro Football Hall of Famer Larry Csonka was
among six people plucked by helicopter from a stranded boat during
a harrowing rescue in the Bering Sea, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Csonka, his partner, and a film crew from his television show
were not injured, but the boat was abandoned at sea, the Anchorage
Daily News reported in Sunday editions.

Csonka was part of a group returning from filming a hunting trip
on an isolated island about 100 miles west of Unalaska on Wednesday
when their 28-foot boat encountered bad weather.

The newspaper reported that 9-foot seas and gale force winds
made it difficult to navigate the vessel, which then drifted away
from the Aleut village of Nikolski.

After hours of worsening conditions, the Coast Guard was called
to help shortly after midnight Wednesday. A Coast Guard helicopter
was dispatched from Kodiak, 600 miles away; it arrived around 10:45
a.m. Thursday and hoisted those on the battered boat one-by-one in
a basket.

"We might very well have died if we stayed out there. It was
tense," the 58-year-old Csonka told the newspaper Saturday in a
phone interview from a hotel in Unalaska.

"It was 10 or 12 hours of moment-to-moment with sea sickness
and not being able to drink water because it was so rough, and
hanging onto each other," he said.

Csonka, his partner Audrey Bradshaw, film crew members John
Dietrich and Rich Larson, and Thomas McCay, the guide for the hunt,
were taping the event for the show "North to Alaska" when the
weather worsened. Also on board the distressed boat was captain
Dwight Johnson.

The former fullback for the Miami Dolphins, Csonka runs Zonk!
Productions, which films episodes for his outdoor sports TV show.