A massive snowstorm moves off the North Carolina coast and catches the cargo ship White Seal with its 20- to 40-foot waves. On January 24, 2003, Captain Yakov Korniyuk is trying to save his crew from the relentless storm. Unfortunately, his single-engine vessel is no match for the churning current that is pushing them even further out to sea. When he realizes his ship is taking on water, he's left with no choice but to signal for help and contemplate abandoning ship. The Ukrainian sailors are highly experienced and can normally take on the worst of storms, but even they know they wouldn't stand a chance in the icy water below. When the rescuers finally arrive, they realize they only have moments to bring the entire crew aboard their small helicopter. Their experience allows them to do so in record time, despite strong winds and rough seas.