Coast Guard Searching for Man on Ugashik River in Alaska

 ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and crew from Air Station Kodiak are searching for a crewman reported missing from the fishing vessel Nezzen early this morning on the Ugashik River in Bristol Bay.

The man was discovered missing just before 1 a.m. today. The master of the vessel immediately notified the Pilot Point Village Safety Officer who contacted the Dillingham Police Department. Notification from the Dillingham Police reached the Coast Guard Command Center in Juneau about 25 minutes after the fishing vessel’s initial call to the village safety officer.

The Coast Guard immediately issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast (UMIB) to notify mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout for any sign of the man. They then launched a Jayhawk helicopter and crew from Kodiak to conduct a shoreline search and the vessel Nezzen continued their own search for the crewman. The tide was incoming with a speed of 3.5 knots. No signs of the man were found overnight.

Searchers are continuing to look for the man today. The original helicopter and crew have been relieved by a fresh crew and they are currently searching the harbor, mouth of Ugashik Bay and conducting another shoreline search.

Weather conditions in the area are reported as overcast with fog. Visibility is limited to one-quarter of a mile. The winds are from the south at about 5 knots. The weather is not forecast to improve. Communications in the area continue to challenge searchers.

The fishing vessel Nezzen is a 32-foot vessel homeported in Port Charlotte, Fla. The vessel has operated in Bristol Bay since 2001.

Ugashik Bay is a 25-mile-long estuary and rich salmon fishery, part of the larger Bristol Bay area, which accounts for over two-thirds of the world’s entire sockeye (red) salmon production. The bay is eight miles wide and twenty-one miles long forming an askew “comma” shape. The Ugashik District is the southern-most of the seven Bristol Bay salmon-management districts of Southwest Alaska and is located on the Alaska Peninsula about 100-miles south of the regional hub of King Salmon. The entire area lies some 400 miles southwest of Anchorage.

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