(KCAW image)

A fisherman is safe after his vessel ran aground and later burned over the weekend in Sitka.

The 47-foot Saami went hard aground on Six-Mile Rock in Sitka Sound on Saturday night (8-29-20).

The skipper of the Saami, Cale LaDuke, was the only person on board at the time of the incident. He put out a distress call over VHF radio sometime after 10 on Saturday night. An Air Station Sitka helicopter responded, and hoisted LaDuke from the rock at 10:52 P.M.

Petty Officer Melissa McKenzie, with the US Coast Guard, credits LaDuke for making all the right moves when the Saami got into trouble. He went ashore on Six-Mile Rock with emergency gear in a dry bag. In addition to his VHF radio, he had a phone, flares, and a headlamp — all of which contributed to his speedy rescue.

McKenzie reports that the Saami caught fire sometime Sunday, and was seriously damaged. She says that, weather permitting, a salvage company will inspect the wreck on Tuesday to determine whether the Saami can be saved.