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Search ends for man after boat capsizes

Casey Grove

A man disappeared in the water off Seward late Friday when a small boat carrying him and two others flipped, according to the local fire chief.

Rescuers plucked two of the men from Resurrection Bay, but the third was not recovered and the official search has been called off, according to the Coast Guard. The names of the men have not been released.

It was still unclear late Saturday what type of boat capsized or how big it was, according to the Coast Guard.

After hearing yelling coming from the water off Fourth of July Beach, someone called 911 about 8 p.m. and firefighters headed to the area, said Seward Fire Chief David Squires. They soon realized the voices were farther north, Squires said, more like a quarter-mile offshore in Resurrection Bay.

The fire department launched its boat, the John Foster, and two good Samaritan vessels, the Maverick and the Orion, joined the rescue effort, Squires said. The fire department boat and the Maverick recovered one person each while those aboard the Orion looked for the third man overboard, Squires said. After the Maverick delivered its man to an ambulance, the John Foster did the same, the fire chief said.

"So we always had two boats in the area of where the sinking was," Squires said.

The boat was vertical in the water amid a debris field that included camping gear and food, and the survivors said their companion was last seen clinging to a cooler of some kind, the chief said. Only one of the rescued men was wearing a flotation device, he said.

"According to the two people we rescued, they had a wave come over the bow, turned them sideways, and flipped them," Squires said.

A Coast Guard helicopter from Sitka flew to the area, and personnel searched from the sky and in the water with an inflatable raft, Squires said.

It was unclear how long the helicopter searched. A fog bank moved in later in the evening, and the fire department boat returned to harbor about 10 p.m., the chief said.

According to Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan Klingenberg, the Coast Guard looked for the man missing in Resurrection Bay again Saturday morning before calling off the search.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.


By CASEY GROVE
Anchorage Daily News