Coast Guard suspends search for overdue boater near Sitka

Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco file photo

Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco file photo

SITKA, Alaska — The Coast Guard suspended the search Monday for an overdue kayaker near Sitka, Alaska.

Missing is 36-year-old Kale Pastel.

The search spanned more than 45 hours, 111 square miles, and included the following assets:

  • MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka
  • 26-foot Trailerable Aids to Navigation boat crews from Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Sitka
  • Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco crew
  • Sitka Mountain Rescue boat crews
  • U.S. Forest Service boat crews

Pastel was reported missing to Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders at 10:13 a.m. Sunday, after failing to arrive from an early morning kayaking trip from Sitka to Birdsnest Bay.

At 1:15 p.m., an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka spotted the kayak on Cannon Island. Earlier that morning, a good Samaritan located the kayak overturned and adrift in the Eastern Channel before towing it to Cannon Island.

“This is a tough case and hits hard to all of us here in Sitka,” said Capt. Mike Frawley, commanding officer of Air Station Sitka. “We are a small, close-knit community which was evident by the out-pouring of volunteer searchers.”

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