Alaska News

Coast Guard recovers body of 61-year-old fisherman near Whittier

Update, 1:30 p.m. Monday: Alaska State Troopers identified the victim as Eric Opland, 61, of Anchorage.


Original story: The body of a man who died while fishing near Whittier was pulled from the water near shore on Sunday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The agency had been searching the area since Saturday evening when a 15-foot dinghy was found floating, apparently abandoned, according to Petty Officer Aaron Gardner, a Coast Guard spokesman. A good Samaritan picked up the boat and towed it into Whittier.

The man’s truck was still in Whittier, Gardner said. People had seen him fishing from the boat, in the area between Whittier and Trinity Point.

A Coast Guard helicopter flew three sorties and a small boat and cutter also joined the search Saturday without finding any sign of the man, he said. His body was discovered around 9 a.m. Sunday after the helicopter and cutter resumed the search.

He was wearing a T-shirt and waders and no life jacket, Gardner said. The man’s name has not yet been released.

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Zaz Hollander

Zaz Hollander is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su and is currently an ADN local news editor and reporter. She covers breaking news, the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at