Coast Guard, fishing crews search for 2 victims after boat sinks

Search crews from the U.S. and Canadian coast guards are looking for two people in the water off Baranof Island's Cape Ommaney in Southeast Alaska after their boat sank Thursday night.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka and five fishing boats are searching for the victims east of Cape Ommaney south of Sitka, according to a statement from the Coast Guard issued Friday afternoon.

The Coast Guard Cutter Chandeleur crew and a Canadian Coast Guard P-3 Variant airplane crew are en route.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a report of the people in the water from a survivor of the sinking over VHF-FM radio Friday morning. Officials issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting the assistance of mariners in the area and directed the launch of the Jayhawk helicopter and cutter crews.

"We are working with our Canadian partners to place essential rescue crews in the area and maximize our ability to locate these two people," Lt. Ryan Erickson, a command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Juneau, said in a prepared statement. "It's good news they were reportedly wearing life jackets but the conditions in Alaska are harsh. We are attempting to locate them as quickly as possible as they may have been in the water for as long as 15 hours."

The survivor was rescued from the beach at Cape Ommaney by a fishing vessel Friday morning and is en route to Sitka, Coast Guard officials said. The survivor reported his recreational landing craft sank at about 8 p.m. Thursday while returning from a camping trip and that all three people had attempted to swim to shore wearing life jackets.

By Anchorage Daily News/