Coast Guard suspends search for Coffman Cove resident

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard suspended its search for Samuel Butler, 24, a resident of Coffman Cove, at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The Coast Guard Cutter Liberty and an MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew searched Monday and Tuesday for a total of 40 hours encompassing a search area of 352 square miles. Wrangell search and rescue along with several good Samaritans also assisted with the search.

“It’s always disappointing to end a search and it’s one of the hardest decisions I have to make,” said Captain Melissa Bert, commander of Coast Guard Sector Juneau. “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Mr. Butler during this very difficult time.”

Witnesses reported to the Coast Guard that Butler departed Coffman Cove not wearing a life jacket Monday at 3:30 a.m.

His powered canoe was located by a good Samaritan 34 miles west of Wrangell in Clarence Strait at 10:15 a.m. Monday.

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