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Coast Guard search suspended for crabber who fell overboard

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

 

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing fisherman 30 miles northwest of Sitkinak Island late Thursday night.

The Coast Guard’s search effort included two Air Station Kodiak Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews, a HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory. Together, they covered approximately 550 square miles.

“Suspending a search and rescue case is one of the hardest decisions that we have to make,” said Michael McNeil, a command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the missing fisherman’s family and the crew of the fishing vessel.”

The Coast Guard was notified Thursday morning that a crewmember aboard the 87-foot fishing vessel Flying Ocean had fallen overboard while crab fishing.

During the search for the missing fisherman, a Jayhawk helicopter crew was forced to land on the beach at Low Cape on the southwest side of Kodiak Island due to an in-flight emergency.

“The safety of our aircrews is our primary concern and they are trained to respond in the event of an aircraft emergency,” said Capt. Melissa Rivera, commander Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak. “The crew was able to put their training to use and safely land.”

The helicopter crew was transferred aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory, by the cutter’s small boat, for the evening.