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
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
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
because of his physical condition and diabetes. He's more religious
now and seems closer to his family."