Anchorage woman drowns in Prince William Sound sinking

Mike Dunham

An Anchorage woman is dead following the sinking of a boat in Prince William Sound on Sunday. Four other people on board were rescued by other boaters in the vicinity.

The Coast Guard received a distress call over VHS radio saying that a vessel was taking on water on the Knight Island Passage side of Crafton Island, near Eshamy Lagoon, Petty Officer David Mosley told the Daily News.

"We put out a UMIB (Marine Information Broadcast) asking anyone in the area to assist," he said.

Another private boat, the Sound Therapy, responded.

"They recovered four people in the water," Mosley said. "A fifth person did not surface."

A civilian diver on the scene located the body of Cathaleen M. Powell, 46, and brought it up, Mosley said. CPR was attempted without success.

The Coast Guard arrived about 30 minutes after receiving the distress call and took the deceased and survivors to Whittier.

Mike Blonski, harbor master of Cliffside Marina in Whittier, said the boat was the 32-foot Wave, owned by Scott Powell and docked at Cliffside.

Alaska State Troopers reported that Powell was with family members when the boat struck a rock. Unidentified survivors included a man and three children. Powell's body was sent to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

Mosley had praise for the citizens who rescued the survivors.

"When it comes to the boating community in Alaska, it's astounding," he said. "These 'good Samaritans' perform quite a number of rescues for us throughout the season. They're able to respond and get to an area in a much quicker way than we can either with a vessel or by helicopter. It shows how close-knit the boating community is in Alaska. They have this mentality that says, 'Lives are at stake; we can always fish later.' An understanding that life is worth more than whatever else they could be doing. It's an amazing thing."

Mosley did not have the identity of the owner or the home port of Sound Therapy. Harbor masters in Whittier, Seward and Valdez said the boat was not berthed in small boat harbors in those towns.

Reach Mike Dunham at or 257-4332.

Anchorage Daily News