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3 plucked from inlet

Posted: Friday, July 12, 2002

Three people were plucked from the rough waters of Cook Inlet Thursday night after a fourth person swam to shore for help after the commercial fishing boat they were in capsized.

A call came into Central Emergency Services shortly after 9:30 that a man was suffering from hypothermia after a boat overturned approximately 4 miles north of the mouth of the Kasilof River, and that three others were missing.

CES Capt. Tim Cooper confirmed all four were transported to Central Peninsula General Hospital: three were conscious survivors all suffering from hypothermia, and one victim was sent to the hospital with CPR in progress.

Tiffany Blanchard said her aunt, Laura Blanchard, heard a knock at the door and opened it to find a man standing there.

"He said, 'Excuse me, can you help me. Please. I just swam ashore; my boat went down,'" Tiffany Blanchard said.

Blanchard said the victim said he had three nets in the boat and the boat capsized. He told his wife and kids to hold on to the boat, and he'd swim ashore. She said the man told Laura Blanchard that the last thing he saw was his wife drifting off.

David Blanchard launched his skiff with the help of three others and found the woman.

At about 10:45, the two children were spotted by aircraft and CES sent divers into the water. The children were brought ashore and transported to the hospital.

CES responded with ambulances and launched a rescue boat from the Kenai dock. Two helicopters and a Civil Air Patrol plane also were sent to assist. Firefighters from Kenai also were called to the scene. They launched an inflatable boat to the rescue area, about 1 1/2 miles from shore.

No further information, including the victims' identification, was available at the Clarion's press time.



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