While Sitka was cleaning up from its Labor Day landslide, emergency responders have been busy with a slew of other events.
Here’s a look other recent events in the forest, on the ocean, and in our own harbor.
Harbor Mountain Road washout
The Forest Service has closed Harbor Mountain Road to vehicle traffic past the second gate due to a culvert damaged from heavy rains over Labor Day weekend.
The Sitka Ranger District says the roadway is “narrow and unstable.” However, non-motorized use will still be allowed.
Since there is limited parking and room to turn at Gate 2, the district advises users to park in the rock pit about a half-mile below the gate.
The Forest Service has announced no timeline for repairs to the road.
A trio of Air Station Sitka medevacs
While a helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka was on loan in Texas, their colleagues who remained in Alaska were busy. The air station medevaced three people earlier this month. The first was a 67-year old crewmember of the tug Justine Foss early in the morning on September 1. The Justine Foss notified the Coast Guard that the man had suffered a possible detached retina. Although the patient was hoping to reach medical care by boat, the Coast Guard flight surgeon recommended an airborne medevac. The man was hoisted aboard an Air Station Sitka helicopter at 12:30 a.m. and transferred to a commercial medevac flight in Juneau. The weather south of Yakutat was reported at winds of 15 knots, and 6- to 8-foot seas.
But the helicopter which hoisted the detached retina patient was not the first aircraft sent to get him. That helicopter was diverted a few minutes after launch to Takatz Bay, where the skipper of the pleasure craft Alaskan Song had reportedly suffered a heart attack.
According to a Coast Guard mission report, one of the eight guests aboard the Alaskan Song who was also a cardiologist. The physician had resuscitated the patient with an emergency defibrillator, but informed the Coast Guard flight surgeon that the man was not stable.
Because heavy fog prevented a hoist in Takatz Bay, a good Samaritan vessel, the Sea Lion, transported the patient into clearer conditions in Chatham Strait.
He was medevaced to awaiting emergency medical personnel in Juneau.
The Alaskan Song had 8 passengers on board at the time of the incident. A relief captain flew out from Juneau the following day — September 2 — to take over the vessel.
On September 4, an Air Station Sitka helicopter flew to Haines to medevac a 73-year old woman suffering from pneumonia. Low ceilings prevented commercial flight services from making the trip. She was transported to Juneau, and then to Bartlett Hospital.
ANB Harbor drowning
Sitka police say they do not suspect foul play in the death of a man near ANB Harbor earlier this month.
According to a news release, the body of 34-year old Timothy Peele was reported floating face-down in the water near Fisherman’s Quay, at 2:15 in the afternoon on Friday, September 1.
Peele’s home address is in Hydaburg.
Police say that Peele was last seen at about 3 a.m. that morning walking down Katlian Street, and he appeared to be highly intoxicated. Peele’s next-of-kin have been notified.