U.S. Coast Guard responders from Air Station Sitka aided several stranded boaters over the weekend.
On Saturday (7-25-20), a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Sitka assisted a man whose boat was grounded in Hood Bay, near the southwest corner of Admiralty Island. They brought a pump to keep the boat from taking on water and helped the owner secure the vessel.
Before Coast Guard responders arrived, the man told watchstanders in Juneau that an aggressive bear on the beach prevented him from getting out of the boat safely and making it to shore.
According to a representative from the Coast Guard, the man said the bear was “charging” his boat, but she could not confirm whether the bear was still there by the time first responders arrived.
A nearby Good Samaritan vessel brought the man aboard and took him to Angoon.
On Sunday (7-26-20), a Coast Guard crew hoisted two people and two dogs from a remote bay south of Petersburg.
A Good Samaritan reported a man overboard at 7:21 in the morning Sunday in Kah Sheets Bay on southern Kupreanof Island about 18 miles from Petersburg.
A helicopter from Air Station Sitka arrived on scene around 8 a.m. Sunday. Coast Guard Lieutenant commander Will Sirokman was on the helicopter that responded.
“I’m not sure how they got into this position, but the boat was wedged underneath a tree that was in the creek with pretty swift water on either side. This wasn’t a fallen tree, it looked like it was just a large tree that was overhanging the river and because the water had risen I think the boat was kind of jammed underneath,” Sirokman says.
He says when the helicopter arrived one person was still in the skiff with the dogs and one person was on shore nearby.
“They were concerned about getting that person out of the boat with the swift water. The rescue swimmer was able to rig up a kayak with some lines attached and they were able to shuttle the person in the boat and the two dogs out to shore from the boat,” he says. “And then we just hoisted the two people and the two dogs and the rescue swimmer back into the helicopter. Thankfully they were in good shape. They didn’t need medical attention and we dropped them off back in Petersburg.”
The boaters had VHF radio and signals, which aided the Coast Guard in locating them.
The area saw heavy rainfall Saturday night into Sunday morning swelling creeks. Kah Sheets is a popular recreational fishing stream with a run of sockeye salmon and U.S. Forest Service cabins at the creek mouth and lake nearby.