Alaska News

21-year-old Bristol Bay fisherman dies after becoming entangled in gear and going overboard, troopers say

A 21-year-old commercial fisherman died Friday after he became entangled in gear and was pulled overboard in the Bristol Bay region, Alaska State Troopers said.

The Department of Public Safety’s patrol vessel received a call for help from salmon fishermen onboard the Anny Joy in Kvichak Bay around 12:30 a.m. because Corwin Wheeler had gone overboard, troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel said.

Two patrol vessels responded to the boat just as the crew pulled Wheeler from the water, troopers said. He was in the water for about a half hour before he was pulled back onto the boat, McDaniel said. He was unconscious at that point, troopers said.

Wildlife troopers performed lifesaving measures for about an hour before Wheeler was pronounced dead, according to troopers.

The captain and three other crewmembers were onboard when Wheeler had become entangled in the fishing gear and was pulled overboard and underwater, McDaniel said.

Wheeler was from Wisconsin and his next of kin were notified, troopers said.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at