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Troopers: Palmer man dies from gunshot on Southcentral island

Zaz Hollander

Alaska State Troopers say they are investigating the death of a 66-year-old Palmer man from an apparently accidental shooting on Montague Island on the southern edge of Prince William Sound.

Troopers on Monday identified the victim as Frederick Fruhwirth. Authorities learned of the shooting after emergency dispatchers in Soldotna got a report at 11:40 p.m. Friday. Troopers from Crown Point and the Soldotna Alaska Bureau of Investigation flew to the scene in a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter to recover Fruhwirth's body, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said. The State Medical Examiner's Office is conducting an autopsy. An investigation continues.

Ipsen said Monday that she could provide no additional information about what happened, who called 911, or whether Fruhwirth was alone or in a group.

"So far nothing big pops (up) that indicates foul play, but that is pending the results of an autopsy," Ipsen wrote in an email.

Montague Island, lying between Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska, is the largest uninhabited island in the United States. The island, with its abundant waterfowl, bears and Sitka black-tailed deer, is a major hunting destination in the fall. But there are currently no open hunting seasons for black or brown bear or deer on the island, though there are plenty of recreational fishermen passing through the area, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

A Whittier-based charter operator said there are also commercial salmon fishermen near the island.

The U.S. Forest Service also operates recreational cabins on Montague Island. 

 


By Zaz Hollander
zhollander@adn.com