Alaska News

Missing boater found dead 3 days after skiff capsizes near Whittier

Whittier, Prince William Sound, Passage Canal

The body of a Dillingham man who remained missing after a skiff capsized near Whittier earlier this week was recovered Saturday from a nearby bay.

Luki Akelkok III and Anchorage resident Stefan Weingarth, both 28, were returning to Whittier from a hunting trip on Esther Island on Wednesday evening in a 20-foot aluminum skiff when it started sinking amid bad weather, Alaska State Troopers said in an online report. Witnesses in the area described 6-foot seas in Prince William Sound, 40-knot winds and dark skies at the time.

Weingarth — the boat’s passenger — was found dead late Wednesday night wearing a life jacket, about 5 miles northeast of Whittier in Passage Canal near Trinity Point, troopers said. Akelkok remained missing, and strong winds and rough seas hampered search efforts.

The owner of the skiff and other relatives of Akelkok’s came to Whittier on Saturday to help find and retrieve the vessel. Shortly after noon, they located the skiff in Logging Camp Bay about 9 miles northeast of Whittier, troopers said. A half-hour later, Akelkok’s body was found offshore in shallow water about 200 yards from the vessel, according to troopers.

Troopers said that a life jacket wasn’t on Akelkok when his body was recovered, and that it appeared his body had drifted about 5 miles.

His body was taken to the State Medical Examiner Office in Anchorage. Next of kin have been notified.