Coast Guard searching for two aboard skiff in remote Aleutian Islands

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Coast Guard is searching for two people aboard a disabled 15-foot skiff near Amatignak Island roughly 130 miles southwest of Adak in the Aleutian Islands Sunday.

The two people aboard the skiff were returning to the island Saturday from the nearby 50-foot Adak-based fishing vessel Larisa M to pick up four surveyors when their vessel became disabled and adrift in weather conditions reported to be about 28 mph winds and 12 foot seas.

The four surveyors witnessed the vessel become disabled and made a makeshift boat on the island. They were able to return safely to the Larisa M and immediately called for the Coast Guard at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

An HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak was launched and arrived on scene at about 6 a.m. The crew completed an initial search by 7:30 a.m. without finding any sign of the two people and is returning to base for fuel. Reduced visibility and a low ceiling forced the crew to search with radar only, no visual search could be conducted.

Another Hercules aircraft from Kodiak has been launched. It will stop in Cold Bay to deliver additional personnel and supplies to an awaiting Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew before proceeding to the scene to continue the search. They are expected arrive on scene around 3 p.m.

The MH-60 Jayhawk from Cold Bay is expected on scene this evening.

Weather in the area is currently forecast as northwest winds at 17 mph with seas of about 5 feet. The Larisa M remains anchored near the island. The four surveyors have reported no injuries.

Amatignak Island is the southernmost point in the Aleutian Island chain and Alaska and is located on the eastern side of Amchitka Pass. It is part of the Delarof Islands group and is uninhabited.

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