(RepublicanView.org) – Officials with the US Coast Guard reported a rescue mission on the evening of Tuesday, January 9 after receiving a distress call over a vessel that capsized. As of January 11, three people were rescued and two were found dead.
The incident occurred near Chichagof Island just off the coast of Southern Alaska. The air temperature at the time of the incident was 31 degrees, while the water temperature was 44. The winds were blowing up to 10 knots and ocean waves were cresting at 9 feet high.
The Coast Guard sent a Jayhawk helicopter from its Sitka base and rescued three people just before 6pm. More units were dispatched to search for two additional missing people. The searches continued through Wednesday morning.
Scuba divers were then sent in an attempt to find the remaining missing crew. They partnered with Alaska Wildlife Troopers and the local fire department in the search. However, their efforts were hindered by inclement weather.
They were finally able to recover the two deceased passengers on January 11 after deploying a drone into the frigid sea. They had been trapped in the vessel’s cabin. Officials promised to recover their bodies after the weather calmed. The survivors were sent to Sitka to receive essential medical care.
Darwin Jensen, the Coast Guard’s commander of the Southeast Alaska sector, promised to support the families of those lost. He also thanked their local partners for their work in the case.
The Coast Guard reports that over 5,000 vessels capsize every year. Roughly 800 people die from these sinkings, on average. Officials recommend that passengers stay with their boat if it capsizes even if the shore appears to be close. They also recommend attempting to turn the boat back over if it can be done safely. If not, stay on or near the hull.
Passengers that stay near the boat can be more easily found and rescued by the Coast Guard. Boats also sometimes correct themselves without external help.
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