Troller sinks near Kruzof Island

Posted: Wednesday, July 09, 2003

SITKA (AP) A search that began Tuesday when a passing Alaska Airlines jet picked up an emergency signal led to the discovery of a 34-foot wooden troller that had sunk on the west side of Kruzof Island.

One person was believed to have been in the boat.

Fire Chief Dave Miller said the Alaska Airlines pilot called the Coast Guard around 6:25 a.m. to report receiving an emergency radio signal. The 17th District Coast Guard Command Center in Juneau sent a helicopter from Air Station Sitka to the area indicated by the EPIRB signal. The Sitka Volunteer Fire Department sent a dive team and three boats from Search and Rescue to help, according to the Sitka Sentinel.

The helicopter spotted an oil sheen and debris a quarter-mile offshore off Point Amelia north of Shelikof Bay, said Search and Rescue Capt. Don Kluting of the Sitka Volunteer Fire Department.

A hull number on a piece of debris indicated the identity of the missing boat, said Paul Webb, a search and rescue specialist with the Coast Guard in Juneau.

The Coast Guard said the sunken boat was spotted after noon in shallow waters off Twin Point. Miller said the volunteer search boats were attempting to haul the submerged troller closer to shore for investigation.

Petty Officer Cory Cichoracki at the rescue command center in Juneau said the first indication of something amiss came just before 4 a.m., when the command center picked up a signal from an emergency locator device.

However, he said, that particular type of signal is almost always a false alarm and a search was not started until the confirming call from the Alaska Airlines jet.

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