Looking back, John Aldridge knew it was a stupid move. When you’re
alone on the deck of a lobster boat in the middle of the night, 40
miles off the tip of Long Island, you don’t take chances. But he
had work to do: He needed to start pumping water into the Anna
Mary’s holding tanks to chill, so that when he and his partner,
Anthony Sosinski, reached their first string of traps a few miles
farther south, the water would be cold enough to keep the lobsters
alive for the return trip. In order to get to the tanks, he had to
open a metal hatch on the deck. And the hatch was covered by two
35-gallon Coleman coolers, giant plastic insulated ice chests that
he and Sosinski filled before leaving the dock in Montauk harbor
seven hours earlier. The coolers, full, weighed about 200 pounds,
and the only way for Aldridge to move them alone was to snag a box
hook onto the plastic handle of the bottom one, brace his legs,
lean back and pull with all his might.
And then the handle snapped.