1 dead, 1 missing after skiff capsizes on Ugashik Bay

One man is dead and a 17-year-old is missing after their skiff overturned on Ugashik River near Bristol Bay Sunday, according to Alaska State Troopers.

All four fishermen onboard were thrown into the river when the skiff capsized in three foot waves and winds of 25 mph near the village of Pilot Point sometime before 9 a.m., said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst. 

The U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk out of Kodiak and Troopers Helo 3 responded to the area near Pilot Point. Prior to the helicopter’s arrival, a nearby fishing vessel located the body of one of the missing boaters who was unresponsive. Efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful, according to the trooper report.

Trooper spokesperson Tim Despain said the name of the deceased man would not be released until the next of kin had been notified.

The Coast Guard suspended the search for the missing juvenile Sunday night after efforts by rescuers were unsuccessful. DeVuyst said the search would remain suspended until they receive new information.

The two men attempted to swim to shore, according to the trooper report.

The other two men, Earnest Pierce, 47, of Nine Mile Falls, WA And Brandon Michael Park, 24, of West Richland, WA were able to climb on top of the overturned skiff until a nearby fishing boat rescued them, according to the troopers report.

None of the men were wearing a floatation device, DeVuyst said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased and missing person,” DeVuyst said. “We want to stress it is important to always wear a lifejacket, go through a safety checklist and let people know where you are before heading out on the water.”

 

Reach Dan Balmer at daniel.balmer@peninsulaclarion.com

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