Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater near Baranof Island, Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska News
JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard suspended the active search for the third of three boaters from a sunken 24-foot recreational vessel near Baranof Island, Saturday night.

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews, an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, the Coast Guard Cutter Chandeleur, a Canadian coast guard DeHavilland Dash 8 operated by a Transport Canada crew, a Civil Air Patrol airplane crew and good Samaritans aboard several fishing vessels conducted multiple searches totaling 47 hours between them and covering more than 1,224 square miles in the vicinity of the island and Redfish Bay from Friday morning to Saturday night.

A survivor was rescued from the beach at Cape Ommaney by good Samaritans aboard the fishing vessel Otter Friday morning and taken to Sitka in good condition. Good Samaritans aboard another fishing vessel located one of the two missing boaters in the water, unresponsive, late Saturday afternoon. That boater was recovered and flown to Air Station Sitka aboard the Jayhawk helicopter and transferred to emergency medical personnel. Rescue crews also located debris from the vessel. The third boater remains missing.

“Suspending a case is one of the hardest decisions that we as search and rescuers have to make and our thoughts and prayers are with the families,” said Scott Giard, a command duty officer with Coast Guard Sector Juneau. “We appreciate the support of our partner agencies and good Samaritans to put as many resources on scene as possible and maximize our chances of locating these boaters.”

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a report of the people in the water from the survivor of the sinking over VHF-FM Channel 16 radio Friday morning following his rescue. The watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting the assistance of mariners in the area and directed the launch of the Jayhawk helicopter and cutter crews.

The survivor reported the aluminum drop bow landing craft they were using sank at about 8 p.m. Thursday night while en route a hunting and fishing trip and that all three people had attempted to swim to shore wearing float coats.

Weather conditions on scene during the search were reportedly 12 to 23 mph winds and 4 to 6-foot seas with good visibility. The water temperature for Southeast Alaska in August is in the 50s.

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