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Coast Guard searches for four missing off Sitka; one dead in boat wreckage

The U.S. Coast Guard continues searching for four missing individuals after a report that a boat from Kingfisher Charters was overdue with five people aboard. The vessel was found partially submerged near Low Island, approximately one mile east of Shoals Point, Kruzof Island. 

Last seen underway in the vicinity of Cape Edgecombe, near Sitka Sound, one dead body was found at the wreckage. 

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Involved in the search are: 

·         Coast Guard Sector Juneau Command Center 

·         Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, MH-60 Helicopter aircrew

·         Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, C-130 Hercules aircrew  

·         Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Sitka 38-foot Special Purpose Craft  boat crew

·         Sentinel-class fast response Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Denman   

·         Sitka Fire Department  

·         Several Good Samaritan vessels 

“There are currently so many unknowns, we are thankful for the coordination efforts from several municipal agencies including the Sitka Fire Department and Good Samaritan vessels on scene.” said Lt. Trevor Layman, Command Duty Officer. “We’re working quickly to locate the unaccounted-for individuals.” 

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. One question to ask when booking your next fishing charter that goes out on the ocean-Do your vessels have working 406 MHz Category I (float-free, automatically activated) Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs). If not, then do you have Category II EPIRBs that are manually activated? All EPIRBs must be tested monthly.

    Do you offer float coats or immersion suits (that are regularly inspected and maintained?) for all passengers in addition to life preservers? If there are immersion suits, suits more than 10 years old they should be inspected and tested by professionals. Suits older than 20 years should be retired. Locals might want to bring their own properly sized “Float Coat” with them when going on a charter. Just a few suggestions. Most won’t even ask what the safety gear a charter operation has.

  2. I was witness to a similar situation over a decade ago. A charter boat developed at leak at the outdrive and the engine compartment alarm failed to activate. From another vessel I watched the boat go lower into the water and finally the kicker motor failed, then the lights went out. Another vessel was able to remove the passengers and not long after the boat rolled over with just the bow peeking above the surface. Scary, I don’t think the passengers realized how close death was.

    • I disagree Loren. With the number of flights and charters that go out every year, Alaska has a pretty good safety record. Things happen. Call them acts of God or stuff happens. They are relatively far and few between considering the large scope of the trade. This one happened quickly with little warning for the staff and participants to react. Sad at best.

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