Coast Guard, partner agencies rescue three people from overturned vessel, find two deceased

MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter stock image

Sitka, Alaska (KINY) – The Coast Guard and partner agencies responded to an overturned vessel near Chichagof Island, Tuesday evening, and recovered three survivors and located two deceased individuals.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Air Station Sitka launched to respond arrived on scene at 5:15 p.m., and recovered the three people from the water at 5:50 p.m. All times are approximate. 

Coast Guard Cutters Douglas Denman (WPC 1149) and Kukui (WLB 203) and an HC-130 from Air Station Kodiak also responded Tuesday night, tracked the vessel’s drift, and searched the area near the overturned vessel for the two missing people. Air Station Sitka conducted additional searches Tuesday night and Wednesday mornings.

Sitka Fire Department arrived on scene with Alaska Wildlife Troopers early Wednesday afternoon and deployed an unmanned underwater drone to find the two deceased individuals in the cabin of the vessel. Recovery operations of the deceased people will commence once on-scene conditions improve.

“It was with a heavy heart that we received news about the two people inside the cabin from our Sitka Fire Department search partners,” said Coast Guard Capt. Darwin Jensen, commander of Sector Southeast Alaska. “We send our support and strength to the family members at this time and thank our partner agencies for their assistance in this case.”

Coast Guard watchstanders at the Sector Southeast Alaska command center received the initial notification of the overturned vessel from the Sitka Police Department at approximately 4:48 p.m. Tuesday.

Initial weather on scene was reported as 8-10 knot winds, 9 ft. seas, water temperature at 44 degrees, and air temperature at 31 degrees.

The three people recovered from the water were taken to awaiting EMS at the Sitka airport.