SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Coast Guard suspends search for 2 missing near Juneau


December 07, 2017
Thursday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - The Coast Guard suspended the search Wednesday evening for the two men missing after their 10-foot skiff capsized in the Gastineau Channel near Juneau on Tuesday. The missing men were identified as 50-year-old James Cole and 48-year-old Sheridan “Scott” Stringer. Five people were aboard the vessel when it capsized.

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka helicopter crews, Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick smallboat crews, Coast Guard Station Juneau smallboat crews and multiple local agencies searched 58 square miles in the Gastineau Channel for more than 20 hours to locate the two men. 

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the two men during this challenging time,” said Capt. Phil Thorne, Sector Juneau commander. “It’s a very difficult decision to suspend a search and we always make these decisions with care and consideration.”

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew searched the Gastineau Channel in Juneau, Alaska Wednesday, for two men in the water after their skiff capsized Tuesday.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jon-Paul Rios.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders received initial notification at 9 p.m. Tuesday from the Juneau Police Department stating they received a call from a man near Aurora Harbor, Juneau, reporting he heard people screaming for help. A station Juneau smallboat crew rescued one person who was found on the hull of the capsized skiff Tuesday at 9:40 p.m. Juneau Police Department personnel reported to the Coast Guard that two other people safely swam ashore. The three survivors reported the two other men on their capsized skiff were still missing. All three survivors were taken to local emergency medical services personnel and treated for minor hypothermic conditions.

Local agencies who also assisted in the search are the Juneau Harbor Department, Alaska State Troopers, SEADOGS K-9 Search and Rescue Team, Alaska Wildlife Troopers and the Juneau Police Department. 

Weather on the scene was reported as five-mph winds, one-foot seas with a water temperature of 44 degrees.


Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


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