Local News

Overdue boater, 85, reunited with family after search

Sitka Mountain Rescue and a Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station Sitka located a missing boater Tuesday night.

The Coast Guard says an 85-year-old man was hunting with family members, and when he didn’t meet up with them around sunset, they called for help.

It took about two hours for a Coast Guard helicopter to find the man, who was aboard his 32-foot fishing vessel, the Saltshaker. A small boat crew from Sitka Mountain Rescue went to his location and helped reunite him with his grandchildren who were hunting.

As Mountain Rescue Captain Don Kluting explains, the man’s relatives weren’t the only ones calling for help.

“Once we started to conduct the search, a family member had gotten a cell phone call from the grandfather on board the Saltshaker and he reported that he couldn’t find the two hunting partners,” Kluting said. “I ended up speaking with him at one point. He thought he was at Mud Bay, and he had lost the two grandchildren … the grandsons weren’t there. He was reporting them overdue. We had both parties reporting each other overdue.”

Winds were about 16 miles an hour with an air temperature of 36 degrees at the time of the search. The Coast Guard reminds mariners to always file detailed float plans with family members and to take safety gear when leaving port.

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