P/V Enforcer Plucks Two from Prince of Wales Island Early Sunday

Location of missing mariners. Image-Google Maps
Location of missing mariners. Image-Google Maps

AST reported on Monday morning that a search for two fishermen ended successfully early Sunday morning after searching the areas around West Island and Prince of Wales Island in the darkness.

At 22:35 pm Saturday night, the Alaska Public Safety vessel P/V Enforcer was anchored seven miles distant from the West Island area, when they received an alert that two men in a 16-foot Lund were missing and had not been heard from in ten and a half hours in the Whale Pass area.

With weather conditions of 25 knot winds, gusting to 35 knots, and five-to-seven foot seas, the P/V Enforcer began searching the area around West Island.

An hour and 45 minutes into the search, the patrol vessel caught sight of “a faint light in the distance on the Prince of Wales shoreline directly across from West Island,” troopers reported. Then, utilizing FLIR, they were able to discern a heat signature of an individual on the shoreline. 

An engineer from the vessel, as well as an Alaskan Wildlife officer and a National Marine Fisheries officer immediately launched a skiff and made their way to shore. Within a half an hour, the trio in the skiff were able to pick up the two mariners, and take their vessel in tow, returning them to the patrol vessel.[xyz-ihs snippet=”Adsense-responsive”]The two mariners, identified as 68-year-old William Davidson of Virginia and 70-year-old Henry Davidson of Oregon reported to the officers that they had been fishing in the West Island area when the weather picked up, prompting them to pull anchor, and attempt to return to the Whale Pass area at approximately 12 noon on Saturday. But as the weather increased in severity, the two decided against braving the seas, and instead beached their skiff on Prince of Wales to wait  out the weather.

They told officers that because they had no two-way radio, they were unable to contact anyone with the change of plans.

The men and their 16-foot Lund were taken to Whale Pass and dropped off at the dock. Other than being cold, wet and tired, the two men were no worse for wear.