Autopsy planned for woman swept into Gastineau Channel

Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- The body of a woman was being sent to Anchorage for an autopsy after being swept into Gastineau Channel by the swift waters of Gold Creek Tuesday.

The woman, who has not been identified, is the second possible drowning victim in the channel over the past week. On Saturday, Dana Lee White, 45, was found dead in the channel.

Police do not suspect foul play and said the incidents don't appear to be related.

In Tuesday's mishap, police responded about 5 p.m. after receiving reports of a woman floating down the rapidly flowing creek from Cope Park.

''I walked by Cope Park and I saw a lady rolling in the water,'' Robert Delacruz told the Juneau Empire. ''I went down there and the water was so fast.''

Delacruz said the woman did not appear to be struggling as she was washed downstream and had no signs of life. He called for help and followed the creek to the channel.

One rescue crew went into the channel in a boat while another walked the shore area. The body was taken away about 5:40 p.m.

Juneau Police said they have not identified the woman, who is Alaska Native and in her late 20s or early 30s. She is between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs more than 200 pounds and has black hair. She was found wearing cut-off bib overalls.

Capt. Tom Porter said police are waiting for toxicology and autopsy reports for the woman and for White. Both bodies were sent to the state medical examiner's office in Anchorage. Porter said police won't have the results for two to six weeks.

Porter said the woman might have struck her head and drowned. He also said the water in the creek was cold enough to cause a heart attack.

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