Coast Guard suspends search for fisherman near Sitkinak Island, Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska NewsANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing fisherman 30 miles northwest of Sitkinak Island at 9:37 p.m. Thursday.

The Coast Guard’s search effort included two Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews, a HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory. The Coast Guard crews searched an area approximately 550 square miles.

“Suspending a search and rescue case is one of the hardest decisions that we have to make,” said Michael McNeil, a command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the missing fisherman’s family and the crew of the fishing vessel.”

The Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders received notification at 10:53 a.m. from the fishing vessel Flying Ocean crew that one of their crewmembers had reportedly fallen overboard while crab fishing.

During the searching for the missing fisherman a Jayhawk helicopter crew experienced an in-flight emergency and had to land on the beach at Low Cape on the southwest side of Kodiak Island.

“The safety of our aircrews is our primary concern and they are trained to respond in the event of an aircraft emergency,” said Capt. Melissa Rivera, commander Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak. “The crew was able to put their training to use and safely land the aircraft without injuries.”

The helicopter crew was transferred aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory, by the cutter’s small boat, for the evening.

The Coast Guard plans to investigate the cause of the mechanical failure Friday and will develop a recovery plan once the investigation concludes.

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