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Boat spill kills 2

Tustumena accident has 3 survivors

Posted: June 6, 2011 - 8:22am

A boating accident on Tustumena Lake claimed the lives of two people late Friday night. Ashley Udelhoven, 47, and Katarina Anderson, 16, both of Kenai, were found dead Saturday night during a search of the lake after authorities had received word there was boating debris in the water, according to Alaska State Troopers Information Officer Beth Ipsen.

There were three survivors: Hanna Udelhoven, 13, and Miranda Udelhoven, 15, both of Soldotna; and their friend, Athena Robinson, 12, of Sterling.

Authorities said Ashley Udelhoven, along with his two daughters and their two friends, headed out Friday about 9:30 p.m. for an outing. The waters were calm until their 18-foot aluminum boat reached halfway across the lake. The winds started picking up and the boat was swamped and sank about two miles from shore, according to Ipsen.

When the boat sank, the group of five — all wearing life vests — started to swim the rest of the way across the lake, but Katarina Anderson was starting to have trouble with her life vest. Ashley Udelhoven attempted to assist her but he became unresponsive within about half an hour, Ipsen said.

Ipsen said the three survivors made it to shore around 3 a.m. and huddled together for warmth until about 7:30 a.m., when they started to walk toward a cabin Miranda knew of in the area. At the cabin, they were able to make a fire and get warm. The cabin is referred to as Nurses Cabin and is on the north shore of the lake.

Rob Barto, a law enforcement officer with Fish and Wildlife, who was on the scene, commended the three girls.

“Those girls did an amazing job,” Barto said. “It was an incredible survival situation that those girls went through.”

The Alaska State Troopers received the call reporting the boating debris around 5:30 p.m. Saturday. A boater on the lake identified Udelhoven’s name and phone number on one of the coolers from the boat floating in the lake. The boater called his wife, who was able to call the Alaska State Troopers. Ipsen would not release the names of the boater and his wife.

The search included an Alaska Wildlife Troopers aircraft, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife aircraft, and two Fish and Wildlife boats. Both Katarina Anderson and Ashley Udelhoven were found by 7:30 p.m.

Barto said the three girls were all wearing very bright colors and waved a bright colored flag. They were found at about 8:15 p.m.

The survivors were taken to Central Peninsula Hospital for minor injuries.

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pmj 06/06/11 - 10:53 am
My husband recently worked

My husband recently worked for Udelhoven. We are heartbroken for their family and friends. We also recently lost some beloved family members to drowning. You can never take life for granted or be safe enough.
I have heard that Tustemena lake has these winds quite often and the middle of the lake is the most dangerous.
I pray for peace and comfort for everyone involved during this sorrowful time.

nodtrebor 06/07/11 - 12:46 pm
My husband worked in Kenai on

My husband worked in Kenai on several occasions with Ashley Udelhoven and we are shocked and saddened to learn of this traggic accident. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of both these victims. Praying for all the families involved in this loss. mjw

k9kujoe 06/11/11 - 09:51 am
Tustumena Lake & Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

I would like to thank the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. AKA the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service. They played an active roll in this boating accident dealing with the S.A.R and the recovery of all the boaters. As this lake is located within the refuge.They also took the time and care to collect Items from the lake as well as going to homes and picking items found on Saturday which prompted the search. So they could sort clean and dry Items and return them to family members. Again Thanks to you for doing this.

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