Coast Guard battles severe weather to search for three overdue hunters in Prince William Sound

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo by PA1 Kurt Fredrickson

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo by PA1 Kurt Fredrickson

JUNEAU, Alaska — A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed to Cordova, Alaska, is searching for three overdue men in the vicinity of Prince William Sound Monday.

Coast Guard crews have conducted nine different search patterns by air and sea since Friday, covering more than 1,600 square miles. The families of the missing men have also chartered a vessel that is enroute to search.

Coast Guard Station Valdez is delayed in searching due to 12-foot seas and gale force winds in the area. The Coast Guard Cutter Naushon is also attempting to reach the search area but 20-foot seas are slowing their efforts.

“Since Friday, Coast Guard air and sea crews have been battling the harsh elements of Alaska weather in efforts to get these three men back to their families,” said Capt. John Hollingsworth, Coast Guard District 17 chief of incident management. “Widespread rain and snow showers with blizzard-like conditions, winds with 45-mph gusts and seas reported as high as 20 feet in some areas are hampering our crews’ search efforts. Safety is a primary concern and our delayed crews remain ready to search as conditions improve.”

Weather on scene is 48-mph winds and 9-foot seas.

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