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USCG suspends search for missing fisherman

The F/V Swift was in Icy Strait when its deckhand went overboard.

The F/V Swift was in Icy Strait when its deckhand went overboard.

The Coast Guard suspended its search late Tuesday night for a fisherman who went overboard from a boat north of Hoonah.

Alaska State Troopers identified the missing deckhand as 25-year-old Alan Young of Chehalis, Wash.

The Coast Guard and other agencies searched more than 450 square miles on Tuesday. Petty Officer Sara Francis says the search is now in the hands of the Troopers.

“Our thoughts are definitely with the family,” she said. “One of the most difficult decisions our crews have to make is when to suspend a search. Nobody likes leaving someone out there, not having a positive resolution to a case, but unfortunately sometimes that happens. Alaska is a very dynamic environment, and we do our best to help crews conduct their business as safely as possible.”

Francis says Young was not wearing any kind of floatation device when he went into the water. The reasons he went overboard are unknown.

Young was aboard the fishing vessel “Swift.” Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a call for help from another vessel, the Pacific Horizon, which found the Swift at anchor and abandoned.

The Swift’s captain, 47-year-old Tim Lane of Sitka, went after Young in a skiff. He was later picked up on a nearby beach suffering from mild hypothermia. The Coast Guard transported Lane to Juneau, and he was treated at Bartlett Regional Hospital. He was scheduled to be discharged Wednesday.

Search efforts on Tuesday in Icy Strait were concentrated near Porpoise Island, which is south of the entrance to Excursion Inlet, and north of Hoonah. The area is known to locals as “Home Shore.”

State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters says the search continued Wednesday using the vessel “Century” and underwater cameras. Divers also were standing by, and the SEADOGS, a volunteer canine unit, was working an “area of interest” on land nearby.

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