TROLLING – Ardel Wilkinson hauls in a chum salmon this afternoon while trolling in Sitka Sound aboard the F/V Joseph. On Thursday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals indicated that it is unlikely to grant an environmental group’s petition for an order that could halt — at least temporarily —the Southeast Alaska king salmon troll fishery. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

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Daily Sitka Sentinel

Charter Boat Sinks

By SHANNON HAUGLAND

Sentinel Staff Writer

An intensive search was under way today in Sitka Sound for four people missing in the sinking of a day-fishing charter boat on Sunday.

The Coast Guard said the body of one passenger has been recovered. Four other people believed to be aboard the boat were still missing as of 11:30 a.m. this morning, authorities said.

The Coast Guard said five feet of the bow of the partially submerged 30-foot aluminum boat were located by a search helicopter Sunday 10 miles southwest of Sitka near Low Island, and the body was recovered from the water nearby.

The Coast Guard is investigating the accident and it is not known how the vessel came to be submerged, the Coast Guard said.

The search started Sunday after the boat was reported overdue returning to Sitka. The search includes Coast Guard helicopters and vessels, teams from the Sitka Fire Department and many privately owned boats, including tour boats from Allen Marine. 

The fire department said the department’s search and rescue and dive teams were unable to deploy until first light today because of the lateness of the hour Sunday, six-foot seas and high winds in the search area.

The identity of the deceased individual and others on the boat, including the skipper, were not released.

The Coast Guard said that on Sunday afternoon the missing boat was reported overdue from a day fishing trip that started at 6 a.m. in Sitka. The vessel was last seen anchored at a regular fishing spot between 1 and 2 p.m. near Cape Edgecumbe, about 10 miles southwest of Sitka.

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka launched a helicopter around 7 p.m. Sunday and located the half submerged boat with the identifying AK number visible on the bow above water at 7:03 p.m. The wreck site was north of Low Island, off the southeast side of Kruzof Island.

The person who was picked up, whom the Coast Guard said later was a man in his 50s, was flown to Sitka, where EMS crews were standing by.

Authorities said the Sitka charter company called the Coast Guard after the boat was overdue and the skipper did not respond to calls. The Coast Guard said the boat was equipped with an emergency locating beacon but it had not been activated.

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20 YEARS AGO

July 2004
Photo caption: Junior League All Stars will compete in a tournament in Wrangell. From left are Bryn Calhoun, Chris Scott, Sean O’Neill, Ross Venneberg, Caleb McGraw, Richard Carlos, Jacob Houston, Coby McCarty, Bryan Lovett and Daniel Erickson.

50 YEARS AGO

July 1974

Photo caption: Volunteers leave the Yaw Building Library with loads of books being transferred to the new Orin and Betty Stratton Library on the Sheldon Jackson campus. SJC librarian Evelyn Bonner expressed appreciation to the community for the help.

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