AD Main Menu

Coast Guard searching for Oregon boater missing in Southeast Alaska

Devin Kelly

A search is underway for a 21-year-old Oregon man who went missing while boating near Yakobi Island in Southeast Alaska on Thursday.

Gus McConnell was last seen in a 16-foot white and blue skiff and was heading back to the Tlingit community of Hoonah after a fishing trip, said Petty Officer Third Class Diana Honings, a Coast Guard spokeswoman. At the time, he was following a larger boat.

Around noon Thursday, the operator of the larger boat looked back for him and found that the skiff was out of sight, Honing said.

At 8 p.m., eight hours later, the Coast Guard was notified. Command center watch-standers in Juneau issued an urgent marine broadcast and launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from the Coast Guard's Sitka air station to search the area.

An Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules airplane crew, an Alaska Wildlife Troopers plane and several good Samaritans also joined the search, concentrating on the inlets around Yakobi Island, Honings said.

Honings said McConnell was unfamiliar with the local waters.

“It’s possible he may have taken a wrong turn through one of the inlets,” she said.

McConnell was last seen wearing blue jeans, boots and an Oregon sweatshirt. The search was ongoing late Friday afternoon.