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Boater missing near Cross Sound is found, rescued

McConnell's skiff ran out of gas and drifted to Hogan Island. (KCAW graphic)

McConnell’s skiff ran out of gas and drifted to Hogan Island. (KCAW graphic)


A boater who went missing near Cross Sound on Thursday (8-7-14) was found and rescued after a 24-hour, multi-agency search.

The US Coast Guard and US Forest Service found 21-year-old Gus McConnell on the north side of Hogan Island, in the mouth of Portlock Harbor, about 55 miles northwest of Sitka. McConnell was following a larger boat up the coast of Chichagof Island Thursday afternoon en route to Hoonah when his 16-foot skiff ran out of gas. The crew of the larger vessel subsequently reported McConnell’s disappearance to the Coast Guard, and a search was begun Thursday evening.

When McConnell could not be located Thursday evening, the search intensified Friday (8-8-14). Alaska State Troopers, a C-130 aircraft from Air Station Kodiak, the Coast Guard Cutter Maple, and the US Forest Service all joined in the effort, which was concentrated around Surge Bay, on northwest Chichagof.

According to a Coast Guard news release, a US Forest Service float plane located McConnell’s skiff on Hogan Island late Friday afternoon. An Air Station Sitka helicopter flew to the area found McConnell on shore, not far from the skiff. He was hoisted aboard and transported to Sitka for medical care around 7 PM. The Cutter Maple recovered the skiff.

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