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Press Release | June 5, 2024

Coast Guard responds to deadly vessel collision near Wrangell, Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska – A good Samaritan rescued one person and divers recovered one person deceased after two vessels collided near Wrangell Wednesday morning. 

A 58-foot fishing vessel and a 20-foot skiff collided, throwing one person from the skiff into the water, who was recovered by good Samaritans on-scene. 

The Coast Guard and on-scene partner agencies commenced a search for the second person. 

After multiple hours of searching, a Petersburg Search and Rescue diver found and later recovered the person deceased inside the sunken vessel. 

Coast Guard Sector Southeast Alaska Command Center received the initial Mayday call over VHF radio at approximately 8:52 a.m. reporting a person in the water. 

"We offer our sincerest condolences to those affected by this terrible tragedy," said Coast Guard Lt. Katy Coppola, search and rescue mission coordinator at Sector Southeast Alaska. "We send our thoughts and support to the family members at this time and thank our partner agencies and good Samaritans for their assistance in this case."

The search effort included Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, Wrangell Search and Rescue, Petersburg Search and Rescue, Coast Guard Cutter Elderberry (WLI-65401), Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Denman (WPC-1149), Alaska State Troopers, and numerous good Samaritan vessels in the area.