Hunting Accident File > Safe Trapping?> January 5,2005



Area man will tell his harrowing tale on TV tomorrow

By: Dave Zuchowski , For the Herald-Standard

Bob Jameson, 53, of Daisytown and John Scagline, 55, of East Monongahela have already had the story of their hair-raising nightmare in the icy cold waters off the coast of New Jersey told in the Herald-Standard last February and the September 2004 issue of the Reader's Digest.

Tomorrow at 1 p.m., a year to the day when their boat capsized during an unexpected storm in the Atlantic Ocean, their near-death experience will get airplay on nationwide TV on NBC's "The Jane Pauley Show.'' The show airs locally on WPXI Channel 11. It will be one of four segments featuring amazing rescues.

Jameson said he was impressed with Pauley.

"I got to talk to Jane Pauley before and after the show,'' said Jameson. "She was professional but understanding, considerate and down to earth. Prior to the show, a warm-up comedian enlivened the audience, and, during the taping, we each got to tell our part of the story.''

And what a story it is.

A year ago, on Jan. 6, Jameson, fellow employee John Scagline and Jameson's golden retriever/golden lab, Max, piled into a 16-foot wooden commercial boat owned by fellow wildlife specialist and friend Newton Sterling and headed for Brigantine Island off the Jersey Coast to trap red fox. The water temperature was 40 degrees.

"As we got into the bay, the wind picked up, the water got rougher and spray covered the windshield,'' said Jameson. "A few minutes later, the boat just seemed to roll over, then turn upside down.''

Scagline was flipped out of the boat, while Jameson, Sterling and the dog were momentarily trapped underneath until they were able to swim to the surface. For the next three hours, the men desperately tried to find a way to stay alive. Before their eventual rescue, Scagline, a diabetic equipped with an attached insulin pump, lost consciousness.

Narrowly missing death, the men were rushed to the hospital and treated for hypothermia. Surprisingly, Jameson and Sterling quickly recovered and were released that evening. Scagline's condition was more touch and go, but even he was discharged from the hospital the following day.

Max, whose hair was standing on end and whose skin was pink from the cold when he was pulled aboard the rescue boat, also made a complete recovery and continues to enjoy life roaming the hilly terrain around Jameson's rustic timbered house near Daisytown.

When Jameson first got the call from NBC asking if he'd consent to do the show based on his horrendous adventure, he discovered that Pauley's sister got wind of the story through the Reader's Digest article. A resident of Pennsylvania, she told Pauley that the story would probably generate a lot of interest among the viewers in her national audience.

After a preliminary taping of the show at Jameson's residence on Dec. 14, Jameson, Scagline, Sterling and Al Kurtz, a professional duck hunter who rescued them from the icy waters, traveled to New York for a final taping on Dec. 17.

"We were given a royal treatment,'' said Jameson. "A stretch limo picked us up at the airport and drove us to the Hilton, where we stayed overnight and had dinner.''

Their day started the following morning at 9:30, when they were prepped for the show and given releases to sign, giving NBC the right to use the tapes in the future at their discretion. The actual taping session began at 12:30 p.m. and concluded shortly before 2 p.m.

Jameson has yet to see the final version of the program, but that opportunity will occur tomorrow at 1 p.m. when he'll tune into the show along with millions of other viewers. To have copies for future viewing, he plans to have friends burn CDs of the show.

More national attention from the media regarding the life-threatening mishap appears to be in the works. Bob Noonan, an outdoor writer and friend of Jameson's from Maine, took his original article written for the Reader's Digest' and revamped it for publication in the January 2005 edition of Trapper & Predator Caller magazine.

Last fall, Jameson and Scagline also got a phone call from Warren Miller, a TV host in the New York area who said he wanted to do a film re-enactment of the accident and rescue for a future airing on his show. Jameson believes that when their story gets out to a wider audience, film producers may want to make a movie based on their experiences.

It's been a year since his harrowing mishap and Jameson said his lifestyle as an outdoorsman, trapper and wildlife control specialist hasn't changed all that much. Although he hasn't been back boating off the shore of New Jersey, he has worked a job this year on Lake Erie trapping muskrat in the marshes near Sandusky.

"No matter what, I'll never forget what happened a year ago," he said. "The event has made me a little more cautious. John's (Scagline) life has probably been even more impacted emotionally and psychologically because of his physical condition and diabetes. He's more religious now and seems closer to his family."


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