Alaska News

Coast Guard suspends search for 3 people still missing after boat capsizes near Seward

The U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday afternoon suspended a search for three people who remain missing after their boat capsized early Wednesday morning 35 miles southwest of Seward, leaving at least one dead.

Aboard the 22-foot Hewescraft aluminum boat were family members 60-year-old Seward resident Joshua Green, 29-year-old Anchorage resident Caleb Green, and 29-year-old Soldotna resident Hayden Green, along with a woman who has not yet been identified, according to an Alaska State Troopers spokesman.

The group left Seward on Tuesday but “could not return to Seward due to poor sea conditions and weather,” troopers said Thursday.

The Coast Guard received a mayday call from the boat at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday reporting the vessel was taking on water, troopers said. Hayden Green was found dead in the water, they said. The other three had not been located as of Thursday afternoon.

Troopers said they had activated the nonprofit Alaska Dive Search, Rescue, and Recovery Team to attempt to find the missing people.

Conditions in the area Wednesday morning were described as 12-foot seas and 20 mph winds with gusts to 30.

The crew of the Skala, a high-speed catamaran carrying 80 passengers to Aialik Glacier, was involved in the response, according to Tom Tougas, owner of Major Marine Tours.


He described the conditions Wednesday morning as rough.

“It would have been what I would call a very rough day for a small boat,” Tougas said Thursday.

The search covered 95 square miles over nine hours, according to the update.

Coast Guard officials said after receiving the call for help Wednesday morning, they issued an urgent marine information broadcast, launched an MH-60 helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak and redirected an HC-130 Hercules crew from a nearby mission. Another HC-130 crew and a Coast Guard cutter were also involved in the search, officials said.

The helicopter arrived at the scene of the capsized boat just before 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Coast Guard.

Not long before, the Skala left Seward for the 90-minute trip to Aialik Bay with six crew members on the first run of the day, Tougas said. The captain told him he started hearing Coast Guard alerts asking mariners to look out for a distressed vessel as soon as the boat left the harbor.

The crew began spotting debris in the area of Coleman Bay, about halfway up Aialik Bay, Tougas said. He said the crew was in communication with the Coast Guard helicopter crew.

“Our captain saw a life jacket floating in the water,” he said, adding that the Coast Guard asked them to retrieve it.

Then the crew spotted the body of a man floating in the water, Tougas said. The Coast Guard asked them to retrieve it, he said.

The crew did so as discreetly as possible, using a lift at the stern of the vessel and keeping passengers at a distance, Tougas said.

Coast Guard officials said the Skala transported the body to Seward. Alaska State Troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel said the body was transferred into trooper custody in Seward.

The Coast Guard said crews searched through the night into Thursday for the missing boaters.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones impacted by this tragedy,” Commander Chris Svencer, search mission coordinator, said in a statement. “Despite a quick response and extensive search efforts we have decided to suspend the active search. This decision is never easy and is only made after careful deliberation.”

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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