JUNEAU, Alaska — After 88 hours of searching over more than 850 nautical miles, the Coast Guard has suspended vessel relocation efforts Friday afternoon for an overturned vessel, pending the development of new information.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka rescued three people from an overturned vessel Tuesday night, and conducted multiple searches for two remaining people into Wednesday morning. Survivors include Tyson Ross, Justin Ipock, and James Sturm.
Sitka Fire Department and Alaska State Troopers assisted in the search and located the two people deceased inside of the vessel’s cabin via an unmanned underwater drone Wednesday afternoon.
The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Denman (WPC 1149) maintained position alongside the overturned vessel until Wednesday night, until they were forced to seek safe harbor after on-scene weather conditions deteriorated.
Searches were conducted on Thursday with no results by both the Douglas Denman crew and an Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. An additional helicopter air crew searched on Friday, and again yielded no results in relocating the vessel.
“We are thankful that we were able to get on scene and save three people before the storm rolled in,” said Capt. Darwin Jensen, commander of Coast Guard Sector Southeast Alaska. “We truly appreciate the efforts of our partners who assisted in this response and attended to those who were rescued. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends impacted by this event.”
Coast Guard Cutters Douglas Denman and Kukui (WLB 203), along with an HC-130 Hercules air crew from Air Station Kodiak, also assisted with the search Tuesday night.
Questions or concerns about recovery and salvage operations should be directed to:
· Sitka Fire Department – David Johnson at (907) 747-3233 or David.Johnson@cityofsitka.org
· Alaska State/Wildlife Troopers, Department of Public Safety – Austin McDaniel at (907) 269-5413 or DPS.pio@Alaska.gov