Coast Guard searching for overdue boaters in Norton Sound, Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska NewsKODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard is searching for two people, who were reported overdue, in a 17-foot skiff in Norton Sound Thursday.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane crew, already in Anchorage due to high winds overnight in Kodiak, was launched at first light Thursday and arrived on scene to search. A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Forward Operating Location Barrow and the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf have also been diverted to assist.

The boaters left from the village of Koyuk Monday afternoon and were expected in Unalakleet that evening. The family reported the boaters overdue Tuesday. Alaska State Troopers conducted a shoreline search for the two people and their skiff from Nome to Stebbens, south of Unalakleet. No signs of the boaters or their skiff were sighted.

The Coast Guard received a request from the Alaska State Troopers late Wednesday night to assist in the search by canvassing Norton Bay and Norton Sound.

“Cases like this highlight the importance of filing a float plan and telling someone when you are leaving and when you plan to return,” said Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey Roberto, a search and rescue controller at the Coast Guard District 17 command center in Juneau. “It also shows the level of coordination and logistics necessary to conduct searches in remote areas of Alaska.”

The Jayhawk helicopter crew from FOL Barrow will transit from Barrow to Kotzebue and they’ll meet a second Hercules airplane from Kodiak with a new Jayhawk aircrew to operate the helicopter for the search.

Weather conditions in the search area are reported as winds from the north at 25 mph winds with seas of 5 to 7 feet and good visibility.

Anyone with information regarding the overdue boaters is asked to contact the Coast Guard 17th District command center at 907-463-2001.

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