Coast Guard crews search for missing Cook Inlet clam diggers

Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak aircraft crews prepare to launch on a medevac flight. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lyle Ricker.

US Coast Guard file photo

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Coast Guard rescue crews responding to a report of four missing clam diggers southwest of Kalgin Island in Cook Inlet discovered two men deceased more than 1,700 yards from the beach at Polly Creek Tuesday.

The 17th District Command Center received a call at 3:46 p.m. from the Pacific Alaska Shellfish plant manager who reported that a company owned 20-foot aluminum skiff with five employees aboard went missing while transiting the area near Polly Creek where the men had been digging for clams.

An initial search conducted by Pacific Alaska Shellfish employees resulted in the discovery of one deceased male with four still unaccounted for.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak-based MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew found two of the missing men at 6:05 p.m., 20 minutes after arriving on scene, and marked the position with flares to help a surface vessel locate and recover the remains.

The Jayhawk crew and an HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew, also from Kodiak, have conducted several searches of the area. The Jayhawk crew will continue searching after is refuels in Kenai, the Hercules crew has completed their searches and is returning to Kodiak.

The crew of the Homer-based Coast Guard Cutter Roanoke Island is also responding to the search area.

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