Coast Guard responds to emergency distress signal about 30 miles north of Sitka

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 File Photo

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Coast Guard, along with the Alaska State Troopers and Sitka Mountain Rescue, are searching for a missing male in response to an emergency distress signal activated from an inReach device approximately 30 miles north of Sitka in Peril Strait, Sunday afternoon.

Missing is Sean Paffenbarger.

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, a Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Sitka boatcrew, and an Alaska State Trooper boatcrew are searching the shoreline along Peril Strait. The Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick is also en route to begin searching.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center received notification from the Alaska State Troopers that an emergency distress signal had been activated by a vessel in transit from Sitka to Saook Point.

After spotting a grounded 18-foot vessel located on Pogibshi Point matching the description of the vessel in distress, an Air Station Sitka MH-60 helicopter crew deployed a rescue swimmer onto the beach while continuing aerial search patterns.

“The Coast Guard and its partner agencies are searching Peril Strait with air, boat and ground crews to find the missing person,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Breanna Tessier, a Sector Juneau command center watchstander. “The Coast Guard is committed to searching with our partner agencies, and if anyone has additional information, please call the command center.”

Anyone with amplifying information about the intended voyage of the 18-foot vessel or regarding the missing person should call the Sector Juneau Command Center at 907-463-2980.

Weather on scene is 5-mph winds, with 10 miles visibility and clear skies.

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