Life jacket saves man from drowning near Juneau

Coast Guard Alaska NewsJUNEAU, Alaska – A Coast Guard Station Juneau 25-foot Response Boat-Small crew rescued an overdue boater, who had capsized and ended up stranded in the water near Auke Bay, Monday.

A Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstander received a report of an overdue 43 year-old male who was last seen paddling his canoe just after 9:00 p.m. near Point Louisa, north of Auke Bay. A concerned friend contacted authorities after he was no longer able to see the individual who was working near-shore crab pots.

Sector Juneau Command Center launched a 25-foot Response Boat-Small crew from Station Juneau which was forward deployed at Auke Bay marina. Arriving in the last known position of the missing boater, Station personnel could hear the man calling for help, which guided the response boat to the individual.

The response crew found the individual with a crab pot line wrapped around his leg pulling him down. The only thing keeping the man afloat was his life jacket.

“This is a classic case of how life jackets can save lives,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Brent Flanick, a Search and Rescue Controller at Sector Juneau. “In this instance the gentleman could very well have been pulled to the ocean floor.”

Station crewmembers cut the line and retrieved the man who was beginning to suffer from mild hypothermia and shock. He was brought back to shore where Juneau Fire and Rescue personnel were waiting to transfer him to Bartlett Hospital.

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