The search for a 56-year-old Anchorage man who was thrown from his boat about two miles upstream from Skilak Lake on Saturday afternoon continues.
David Yanoshek, 56, of Anchorage, had been missing for about 45 minutes to an hour when emergency personnel from multiple agencies responded to Jim's Landing at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday. According to trooper reports, Yanoshek and four other passengers were thrown from the boat after it hit a rock in the water. The other passengers were able to make it to shore, but Yanoshek could not be located. Investigation revealed that Yanoshek was not wearing a life vest at the time of the incident. A search by air and water continued for four and a half hours before it was called off for the night.
"(A life vest) is just that added protection," said Central Emergency Services Operations Chief Gordon Orth, who was covering the search in the forestry helicopter. "The biggest majority of people that end up missing go under because they didn't have flotation."
Megan Peters, trooper public information officer, said a trooper helicopter is in the area assisting with the search.
The helicopter will search the two-mile stretch of water between Jim's Landing and Skilak Lake. Even though emergency personnel are still looking, Peters said the operation will most likely be a body recovery. The investigation into the fatality is still ongoing.
Alaska State Troopers from Cooper Landing, Girdwood and Seward along with personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, rescue workers and two boats from Central Emergency Services and a helicopter from the Alaska Division of Forestry and troopers responded to Jim's Landing to search for the missing boater.
Orth said he was in the Forestry helicopter during the search. Central Emergency Service's two rescue boats and an ambulance were sent to Jim's Landing and the Upper Skilak Lake Campground.
The boats conducted searches of at both ends of the Kenai River rapids above Skilak Lake. Troopers released Central Emergency Services about 10 p.m.
"Hopefully a lesson to come out of this tragedy is that it gets some folks realizing it's a huge important thing to wear (life vests) on the river," Orth said.
Jessica Cejnar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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