Both of Saturday’s rescues involved hoists in high winds, over a considerable area of Southeast Alaska.

Video: Shelter Island Rescue

An Air Station Sitka helicopter battled 50-mile-per-hour winds to rescue a man after his boat capsized by Shelter Island near Juneau last Saturday. 

The man called the Coast Guard on his cell phone shortly before 11 a.m. on Saturday, stating his 12-foot Zodiac had become disabled after capsizing and was now adrift near the north end of Shelter Island. He stated that he had re-righted the boat, but that the engine would not start, and that he would attempt to row to Shelter Island.

The man activated his inReach SOS device when his boat capsized, providing a location for the Coast Guard. He was wearing an anti-exposure suit.

The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter from Sitka, and a  45-foot medium response boat from Station Juneau.

The helicopter crew arrived on scene and located the man on the shore of Shelter Island. He was hoisted aboard and transported to Juneau in good condition.

 “Fortunately the individual was wearing an anti-exposure suit, and was equipped with an inReach device and a cell phone to notify us of his location,” said Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Brian Wells in a news release. “All of these factors contributed to his survival despite the adverse weather conditions.”

Conditions at the time of the incident included an air temperature of about 32 degrees and wind gusts up to 50 mph.

Video: Strait Island Rescue

In a separate incident, the Coast Guard rescued a man after he intentionally ran his sinking boat aground on Strait Island near Port Protection, Saturday (11-9-19).

A helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka located the man and hoisted him from the island’s rocky shoreline, then brought him to Sitka. He was uninjured and in good condition.

The man notified the Coast Guard of his distress at about 2:40 p.m. Saturday, via VHF channel 16. He reported that his boat, the 33-foot recreational fishing trawler Onyx was taking on water. He had activated his EPIRB and put on his survival suit, and he was preparing an attempt to beach the boat on Strait Island to avoid sinking.

A helicopter launched from Air Station Sitka in response. In addition, both Coast Guard Cutters Anthony Petit and Anacapa diverted to the area.

The helicopter crew arrived on scene and spotted the man’s red meteor flare and strobe light.

Winds at the time of the hoist were approximately 40 mph, in otherwise rainy and misty conditions.

“Considering the cold water and air temperatures, the outcome could have been much worse,” said Lt. Kyle Johnson, co-pilot for the case. “Fortunately, he reported his position and intentions on VHF Channel 16, signaled us with a flare, and wore a strobe light on his survival suit. Because of all this, he was able to keep his body temperature up and we were able to find him.