Alaskans crawled out of their dens and visitors descended on the peninsula to kick off summer over the long memorial weekend. The early summer revelry was accompanied by a not-so-unexpected slew of mishaps involving boats, guns, fires and all-terrain vehicles.
Between 8 a.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. Tuesday, Central Emergency Services responded to 40 calls, said CES Fire Marshal Gary Hale. In an average 48-hour period, CES responds to about 10, he said.
The first of two boat incidents CES responded to over the weekend occurred when a 17-year-old woman fell off of the back of a boat Sunday night and suffered boat prop lacerations around her feet and ankles.
The woman had been camping with friends on Explorer Island in Hidden Lake on Sunday evening and was standing on a nearby boat when it took off and caused her to lose her balance and fall, said Chris Johnson, the supervising law enforcement officer for the Kenai Wildlife Refuge.
The woman suffered from multiple deep lacerations, including one that severed a tendon, said Wes Perkins, a CES engineer paramedic.
A second boat mishap occurred Monday afternoon after a man left Sportsman’s boat launch on a one-man inflatable Cataraft. The man fell from the boat less than a mile after he left the landing. An Alaska Wildland Adventures boat found and retrieved the man from shore just south of the Russian River ferry, where he climbed from the water, Johnson said.
Johnson said he did not know how long the man was in the river before he swam to shore, but that it was longer than 15 minutes.
Guns entered the weekend havoc on Saturday when troopers responded to a drinking fight on Ninilchik beach at 3 a.m. The fight involved between 10 and 15 people, and although no bullets reportedly were fired, the caller reporting the incident said a baseball bat and the butt of a pistol were used to beat a person involved in the fight. Troopers arrested Jason Ackerman, 24, of Anchorage, who was charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct after the incident.
Troopers responded to yet another gun-related incident about 10 hours later when a man fired multiple gun shots from the top of the bluff near Whiskey Gulch Recreation Area in the direction of people camping below. Troopers arrested Franklin Anderson, 46, of Anchor Point, who was charged with third-degree misconduct involving weapons and third-degree assault, and taken to Homer Jail without bail.
But that’s not the end. What started with gun fire was followed with brushfire.
Before the long holiday weekend ended, CES responded to two burn barrel fires and one meat smoker fire. No structures were lost in any of the fires and in each case the fire burned less than half acre and was quickly contained.
The two burn barrel fires occurred on Bolan Street in Soldotna on Sunday and on Diane Street in Sterling on Monday. A third fire also began on Monday when an unattended meat smoker at a house on Three Johns Road ignited a nearby wood pile which in turn ignited nearby spruce and birch trees. The smoker was being used to smoke a ham.
Finally, three patients were taken to Central Peninsula General Hospital over the weekend after two ATV accidents. One occurred near Mile 78 of the Sterling Highway on Monday and injured one of the two riders.
A second ATV accident, also on Monday, occurred off Kalifornsky Beach Road and injured both of the two riders.
Hale could not comment on the extent of the injuries sustained by the three injured riders when this story was being reported.
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