JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard rescued an 85-year-old overdue boater Friday on a beach in Steamer Bay, after a Wrangell Search-and-Rescue crew located the man.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka landed on the beach approximately 20 miles southwest of Wrangell, picked up the man, then flew him to Wrangell where he was placed in the care of Wrangell EMS in good condition.
The Coast Guard received initial notification at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday that the man, who left Point Baker bound for Wrangell in a 24-foot landing craft earlier in the day, was overdue to arrive as planned.
Coast Guard watchstanders in the Sector Juneau command center in Juneau requested the Air Station Sitka helicopter crew and the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Denman conduct a search, and issued an urgent marine information broadcast to alert mariners in the area.
Wrangell SAR launched two boats to begin searching Thursday evening along with the Douglas Denman.
The Coast Guard helicopter crew and a Wrangell SAR aircraft crew both launched near first light Friday due to unfavorable search weather Thursday night. The Wrangell crew located the man and his landing craft, and relayed the location to the Coast Guard crew.
The man was displaying symptoms of early-stage hypothermia, but was otherwise in good condition after experiencing complications on his voyage that included poor visibility. Wrangell SAR is working with the Coast Guard to determine what other factors may have complicated the man’s attempted transit to Wrangell.
Wrangell SAR reported plans to take him back to his vessel where it remains secured on the beach, at a later date.
“Thanks to a cooperative effort among multiple teams ashore, on the water, and in the air, this gentleman was located and is safe today,” said Lt. Jonathan Orthman, Coast Guard co-pilot for the case. “We’re grateful to Wrangell Search and Rescue for their tremendous partnership, and for finding this man.”