A search continued Tuesday for three men missing after their boat apparently sank a week ago near Bethel, rescue authorities said.
Shane McIntyre, Carl Flynn and Justin Crow left Bethel in a KingFisher Extreme Shallow boat on the afternoon of Aug. 30 to deliver supplies for a moose hunt at a cabin up the Kuskokwim River, said Perry Barr, vice president of Bethel Search and Rescue. The men were expected to return home that evening.
Winds were gusting south and southeast at roughly 30 mph and a high tide occurred at about the time the men were believed to have disappeared, Barr said.
“If that’s the water conditions at that particular time, then the waves could be at that time 5 to 8 feet in height,” he said. “And we’re talking about a KingFisher Shallow Extreme boat with about 30-inch sides and an inboard. So they have that kind of boat out in those weather conditions — it’s pretty dire.”
Alaska State Troopers and officials from Bethel Search and Rescue were notified about the overdue boat on Wednesday, said Austin McDaniel, a spokesman for the troopers.
Since then, Barr said crews and volunteers have searched the area by air, on land, in boats with sonar systems, and with a specially trained tracking dog.
Searchers found debris suspected to have come from the missing boat near Straight Slough, McDaniel said. They also found a flashlight, life vests, a shoe and a gas can, the Bethel search and rescue organization said.
Barr said the Alaska Dive Search Rescue and Recovery Team hopes to bring equipment with enhanced sonar capabilities to the area soon.
He said he was still holding out hope that the men could be alive.
Barr said a large number of people have volunteered to help with the search efforts, or provided monetary or food donations.
The situation has devastated the men’s families, he said. An online fundraiser has been organized for McIntyre’s family.