Alaska News

Search continues in Southeast Alaska for overdue Wrangell boater

A search by state and federal authorities for an overdue boater near Wrangell, first reported Sunday to Alaska State Troopers, continued Tuesday.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert said Monday search efforts hadn't found any sign of 53-year-old Kenneth Trammel or his white 38-foot Bayliner boat, the Thalasa. Family members told troopers that Trammel was five days overdue from a fishing trip, after leaving Wrangell on Nov. 5.

"The search is ongoing," Eggert said. "There were no significant breakthroughs or items found overnight."

Eggert said a 45-foot Coast Guard response boat from Ketchikan had joined the search Tuesday morning, with the cutter Anacapa as well as an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka continuing their work from Monday.

Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said good Samaritan vessels and aircraft were joining troopers and Coast Guard searchers Tuesday, after troopers spoke with locals.

"We have circulated the information to people who are out there, and hopefully that'll help find him," Peters said.

The Coast Guard didn't have word on what supplies Trammel might have with him beyond the Thalasa's VHF radio, but an analysis of signals from his cellphone suggested activity on it over the weekend.

"There was a signal search done on his phone that said he had used his phone at about 7:30 in the morning on Sunday," Eggert said.

Eggert said the search area, covering Berg Bay, Blake Channel and Deer Island -- a region locals refer to as the "Black Loop" -- hadn't been significantly modified by search efforts Monday.

"It hasn't changed, but it was always a pretty large area -- he was going to be traveling through sort of a large area to start with," Eggert said.

Peters said weather in the search area, which had been under a winter weather advisory including gale-force winds, had improved somewhat as the search for Trammel continued Tuesday.

"Seas are favorable today, but there's a low ceiling for flying," Peters said. "Hopefully he's moored up someplace but we'll see."

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