UPDATE (04/01/2019 5:30 p.m.) – An earlier version of this story stated the boat that left survivors stranded on a sandbar had capsized based on information provided by the Coast Guard in a press release. However, spokesperson Tim DeSpain of the Alaska State Troopers confirmed to KCAW that the boat in fact ran aground in the sandbar.
On Saturday, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka rescued seven people and a dog near Haines after their boat ran aground in the Chilkat River.
The survivors were stranded in a sandbar about 7 miles northwest of Haines. They called the Alaska State Troopers for help via a satellite communication device that doubled as a GPS. Thanks to that device, Trooper spokesperson Tim DeSpain says the stranded party was able to provide their exact location.
“Based upon the fact that they were reporting that they were wet and mildly hypothermic, Alaska State Troopers contacted the Coast Guard to respond to the scene and rescue the parties,” DeSpain said. “The stranded party had stated that one of their jet boats had entered shallow water on the river and ran aground on a sandbar and were unable to free the boat at that time.”
The air temperature in Haines on Saturday night was in the low 30s.
Troopers forwarded the request to the Coast Guard at about 10 p.m., who picked up the survivors and transported them to the Haines Airport. According to the Coast Guard, they were placed in the care of local emergency medical services shortly after midnight.