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Life jacket helped Juneau canoeist survive, Coast Guard says

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Shock and mild hypothermia weren’t enough to claim the life of a Juneau canoeist last seen paddling in Auke Bay near Juneau earlier this week. The U.S. Coast Guard says the 43-year-old man should thank his life jacket for helping him survive.

When the Coast Guard’s 25-foot response boat arrived at the overdue boater’s last know position early Tuesday morning after he was reported overdue, they heard cries for help. The man had a crab pot line wrapped around his leg. The only thing keeping the man afloat was his life jacket, Coast Guard officials said.

"This is a classic case of how life jackets save lives," said Petty Officer 1st Class Brent Flanick, a search-and-rescue controller based in Juneau, said in press release.

Station crewmembers cut the line and retrieved the man. Juneau Fire and Rescue personnel were waiting on shore and brought the canoeist to Bartlett Hospital.