Fisherman killed in accident on Copper River flats

Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A commercial fisherman was killed Monday when he got tangled in fishing gear and fell into the water at the mouth of the Copper River, Alaska State Troopers said.

Dean Dewey, 66, of Anchorage was fishing alone Monday afternoon when the accident occurred. Another fishing vessel spotted Dewey's boat resting near a sand bar and radioed for help.

Investigators are not sure if Dewey was putting gear in the water or taking it out when the accident occurred.

Dewey was fishing in the flats, where ocean breakers sometimes pound barrier islands. The Copper River salmon fishery is widely considered the most dangerous in Alaska.

Dewey had fished commercially for 15 years.

Most recently, Dewey represented commercial fishermen at public meetings regarding the Whittier Access Project, the controversial road through a railroad tunnel slated to open on June 7. Dewey believed increased traffic in the Sound would hurt commercial fishing.

In an interview in April, Dewey described his work as difficult and demanding.

''But one glorious day in Prince William Sound, and you think what a privilege it is,'' Dewey said. ''I'm 66 years old. I don't have to do this but I don't want to give it up.''

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