Visiting angler dies in refuge

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2001

One man drowned in a freak fishing mishap and another person was airlifted to an Anchorage hospital after becoming ill in the wilderness.

Both accidents happened Monday.

A New Hampshire man, 65-year-old George Schacht, died at Engineer Lake, near Skilak Lake in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, apparently when his fishing inner tube tipped over. Relatives and bystanders pulled him from the lake when someone noticed his head was under water. They attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but could not revive him.

Central Emergency Services was notified at 5:45 p.m. and responded with two medic units.

"He was pronounced dead at the scene," Assistant Chief Steve O'Connor reported Tuesday.

O'Connor added that Schacht's death was the first he knew of involving the popular fishing devices.

Five other people have drowned in other parts of Alaska within the past week.

Also on Monday, a Lifeguard helicopter from Providence Medical Center traveled to remote Upper Russian Lake in Chugach National Forest to pick up a hiker in distress. Alaska State Troopers dispatched the chopper after receiving a call about a possible case of food poisoning and determining that the site was too remote for Cooper Landing emergency responders to reach in a timely manner.

"We did pick up someone yesterday," confirmed Providence Hospital spokesperson Karina Jennings.

She said the patient arrived in Anchorage about 7 p.m. and was transferred via ambulance to the Alaska Native Medical Center.

The victim's name, final diagnosis and condition were not available.

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